EU's Foreign Policy Chief Meets With Israeli Arab Leader: 'We Wouldn't Want to See Democracy Threatened' in Israel

Federica Mogherini and MK Ayman Odeh discuss the nation-state law despite attempts by Israeli lawmakers to prevent the meeting

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini gives a speech to resume the diplomatic year during an EU ambassadors conference in Brussels, Belgium, September 3, 2018.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, met on Tuesday with Israeli Arab leader and chairman of the Joint List party, MK Ayman Odeh. 

Mogherini and Odeh met to discuss Israel's passage of the nation-state law, despite other Israeli lawmakers' attempt to prevent the meeting

"The nation-state law is first and foremost a matter of how Israel chooses to define itself, and we fully respect the internal Israeli debate on this," Mogherini's office said after the meeting ended. 

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As "the EU values Israel's commitment to the shared values of democracy and human rights," the statement continued, the organization would not want to "see these values being put in question or even threatened."

"The respect for human rights and fundamental principles are and will remain a central part of the EU-Israel partnership. We will continue to monitor the implications of this law in practice," the statement added.

Odeh expressed his concerns to Mogherini over the implications of the nation-state law on the Arab minority in Israel and the damage it could wreak on equality. He requested that the EU officially condemn the law and call for its cancellation. 

Odeh emphasized to Mogherini that the law's phrasing, especially the words "the State of Israel," does not refer to the territory within the 1967 borders, instead also including areas of the West Bank. Odeh also told Mogherini that the law hurts any attempts to reach peace between Israel and the Palestinians.