Abbas accuses EU of pro-Israel bias
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas complained yesterday to the European Union of "a series of provocative and illegal Israeli actions." He went on to accuse the EU of discrimination against the Palestinians, and of fostering an unjust, pro-Israeli approach. In an unusually harsh letter from Dr. Rafiq Husseini, Abbas' chief of staff, to German Foreign Minister Frank Walter-Steimeier, the Palestinian leadership complained of several instances in which Israel has allegedly violated its prior commitments, including the road map.
Husseini noted in his letter to Steimeier - current president of the European Council - the reports of Israel's intention to build a new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, and the construction of a new Jerusalem District police headquarters beyond the Green line.
"At a time when the Palestinian people are at the threshold of a historic national consensus... such Israeli actions only serve to derail efforts to support forces of moderation," the letter reads. It also lists the IDF's incursion into Nablus last week, as well as the archaeological excavation near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Husseini suggests that despite Israel's "violations" and its refusal to participate in dialogue with the Palestinians, it enjoys close relations and financial ties with the EU, as opposed to the Palestinian Authority, under an international embargo. The letter calls to "end this glaring injustice", and to adopt a "more balanced" approach by the Council of Ministers and the international community.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was expected to visit Brussels in advance of the EU meeting scheduled for today, in an attempt to convince the Europeans to adhere to the embargo for as long as the Hamas government refuses to renounce terror and recognize Israel as well as agreements signed with it.
Officials in Jerusalem are concerned about possible erosion in the European Union regarding the embargo, as reflected in recent announcements by several European governments of their intention to reevaluate their stance following the Mecca agreement between Hamas and Fatah.