Is a serious Israel-EU crisis in the works?
Israel's envoys in Europe: EU will go even further in condemning Israel if U.S. pressure continues.
Israeli government sources say it is likely that after the current diplomatic crisis and pressure by the United States regarding the Palestinian issue, Israel will soon face an even more serious row with the European Union.
A government source in Jerusalem said this was the concern voiced during a conference call between Foreign Ministry Director-General Yossi Gal and seven of Israel's ambassadors in important world capitals.
Gal spoke last Thursday with Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, and the envoys to the European Union, London, Rome, the UN, Moscow and Paris.
Oren's laconic retelling of Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington, revealing no details of the prime minister's meetings, roused the ire of the other ambassadors, who said they were not kept abreast of events and so could not represent Israel adequately regarding the dispute with the United States.
"The American embassy in London knows what went on in Netanyahu's meetings in Washington and I have no idea," said Israel's ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor.
The envoys all said that if U.S. pressure continued, the European Union would go even further in condemning Israel and promoting diplomatic initiatives.
Netanyahu told the cabinet Sunday that he saw "no signs of moderation" among the Palestinians. "However, we will maintain a restrained framework of debate and continue our talks with the U.S. administration to move the process of dialogue forward," he said.
Netanyahu said the statements reported in Yedioth Ahronoth that an anonymous associate had called Obama "a disaster for Israel" were "improper," and that "we are trying to move the peace process ahead but also to serve our interests, and we continue to narrow the gaps with the administration."
In a first extensive statement by a senior minister on the diplomatic dispute with the United States, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said continued cooperation with America was necessary to protect Israel's security.
However, he added, "Only we have the exclusive responsibility when it comes to the fate and security of Israel, and only we can determine the matters pertaining to the fate of Israel and the Jewish people. But we must never lose sight of how important these relations are, or the ability to act in harmony and unity with the United States."
Barak said it was "crucial to remember that the United States is friendly to Israel in a deep and substantial way."
Barak underscored the key difference between his positions and those of most of Netanyahu's coalition partners. "The components of the agreement are clear," he said.
"I believe that it is our obligation to seek an agreement that sets a clear border within the Land of Israel based on security and demographic considerations, with the Jewish state, the State of Israel, on one side with a solid majority of Jews through the generations, and the demilitarized Palestinian state on the other side with territorial, economic and political viability."