EU Foreign Ministers Weigh Countermeasures to Trump's Mideast Plan

Israeli diplomats tell their counterparts European rejection of plan would only make it harder to convince Palestinians to enter negotiations

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) meets with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell at tin Washington, DC, Feb. 7, 2020.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) meets with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell at tin Washington, DC, Feb. 7, 2020. Credit: Samuel Corum/Getty Images/AFP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

European Union foreign ministers are set to discuss U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East proposal in a Monday meeting, where they are expected to deliberate any measures against the plan.

Israeli ambassadors in Europe have been working over the past week with various foreign ministries in an attempt to prevent any harsh statements or proposals at Monday's meeting, sources with knowledge of the talks told Haaretz.

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Some EU officials have strongly criticized Trump's plan since its release last month, and Israel now hopes to prevent a formal rejection of it.

Some eastern European nations have backed Israel in similar instances in the past, and Israel hopes support on their part would block any such move.

Sources said that Israeli diplomats have told their European counterparts Israel is willing to renew negotiations with the Palestinians, and argued that any official EU stance against Trump's proposal would only block attempts to bring Palestinian leaders to the table.

Israeli diplomats noted that even some Arab states haven't condemned the plan.

Earlier this month, the EU's top diplomat said that Washington's plan "challenges many of the internationally agreed parameters" for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell said that the plan throws into question "the 1967 border, as agreed by both parties, with a state of Israel and an independent, viable state of Palestine, living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition.

The United Kingdom said after the plan's release that it was "concerned" by a possible Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank.

"Any such unilateral moves would be damaging to renewed efforts to re-start peace negotiations, and contrary to international law," said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. "Any changes to the status quo cannot be taken forward without an agreement negotiated by the parties themselves."

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