Israel's Foreign Ministry blasted the EU for practicing "megaphone diplomacy" on Tuesday after the union's foreign policy chief warned against annexing parts of the West Bank.
In response, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said it was "regrettable that once again, the security of Israel, a key partner of the EU, and the threats that Israel face, were not mentioned at all and were not given the centrality that they should be [sic] in such a message."
It continued, "This 'megaphone diplomacy' is not a substitute for intimate diplomatic dialogue and will not advance the role the EU is seeking to fulfill," the statement said.
In a statement released Monday to congratulate Israel on forming a new government, EU Minister of Foreign Affairs Josep Borrel reiterated it would not "recognize any changes to the 1967 borders unless agreed by Israelis and Palestinians."
"We note with grave concern the provision... on the annexation of parts of occupied Palestinian territories," the statement added. "We strongly urge Israel to refrain from any unilateral decision that would lead to the annexation of any occupied Palestinian territory and would be, as such, contrary to International Law." Borrell's original statement received support from all members of the European Union, except Hungary.
Annexing parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley was a central promise of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's latest election campaign. Despite Kahol Lavan keeping the issue of at arm's length, both Benny Gantz and co-leader Gabi Ashkenazi, now the foreign minister, have voiced support for the Trump administration's peace plan. A major item of the plan is the transfer of some parts of the West Bank to Israeli sovereignty.
In his first speech as minister on Monday, Ashkenazi said he saw the plan as a "historic opportunity to shape the future of the State of Israel for decades to come." He also vowed to improve ties with Jordan, despite Amman's repeated statements that annexation would be unacceptable.