'Israelis Will Lose Faith in EU' |

Netanyahu to Ask EU Leaders: Help Postpone EU Guidelines on Israeli Settlements

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to phone a number of European leaders on Wednesday and ask them to help postpone the publication of the new European Union guidelines concerning Israeli settlements.

The guidelines are expected to be officially released on Friday and go into effect on January 1, 2014.

A senior Israeli official said that Netanyahu has already spoken to a few European leaders on Wednesday morning, and that they told him they were not aware of the new guidelines or the plan to release them on Friday. On Tuesday, Netanyahu was scheduled to speak with EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton, but the conversation was postponed and will likely take place on Wednesday.

In an interview with Germany's Die Welt newspaper on Tuesday, Netanyahu sharply criticized the EU decision, and claimed the move undermines the efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to renew peace negotiations.

"For years the Europeans have been whining about the fact that the Americans are not involved enough," Netanyahu said. "Now that they are involved, this action actually undermines the American efforts and undermines the negotiations."

According to Netanyahu, the EU's move "causes Israelis to lose confidence in the impartiality of Europe. It's just the wrong way to go." He added that Israel will not allow its borders to be determined through external economic pressure, but rather only through negotiations.  

Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office in Israel Sunday, July 14, 2013. Credit: AP