Less than two months after he ordered the Foreign Ministry to suspend all talks with the European Union on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Thursdat with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to discuss that very issue.
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The Prime Minister’s Office declined to say whether this meeting, Netanyahu's first with Mogherini since issuing that order, marks the end of the suspension.
The meeting with Mogherini took place four days after the foreign ministers of the EU’s 28 member states adopted a decision requiring all EU-Israel agreements to include a clause stating that they don’t apply to the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights.
During Thursday’s meeting, Netanyahu harshly criticized the EU’s conduct toward Israel and accused it of being tainted by double standards, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
“Netanyahu told Mogherini that the European Union must adopt the policy of the moderate Arab states toward Israel,” the PMO said in a statement. “The improvement in relations with them [the Arab states] will lead to an improvement with the Palestinians.”
It’s not entirely clear what Netanyahu meant by this statement. Whereas all EU member states have both full diplomatic relations and extensive trade relations with Israel and often assist it in international forums, none of the Arab states except Egypt and Jordan have diplomatic relations with Israel, and all of them work against Israel in every possible international forum.
Mogherini told the prime minister that the European Union isn’t boycotting Israel. She also said she had received and even watched the video Israel sent to all EU foreign ministers regarding incitement in the Palestinian media, the PMO added.
In November 2015, two weeks after the European Union issued guidelines on how produce from the settlements should be labeled when sold in European stores, Netanyahu told the Foreign Ministry to conduct a “reassessment” of how involved Israel should allow the European Union and its institutions to be in the peace process. Only once that reassessment was completed would he decide if and how to resume talks on this issue with EU institutions and EU representatives in Israel, he said.