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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

EU to upgrade Israel ties

Britain’s The Guardian says relations to be upgraded in more than 60 areas including agriculture, energy and migration

The EU will offer Israel upgraded trade and diplomatic relations in more than 60 areas at a high-level meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, just weeks after European foreign ministers warned that Israeli policies in the West Bank “threaten to make a two-state solution impossible,” The Guardian reported Monday.
A diplomatic source shared with the newspapers details of the package of benefits that will be offered to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
According to the report, the EU will widen its relationship with Israel on a range of areas including migration, energy and agriculture. It will remove obstacles impeding Israel’s access to European government-controlled markets and enhance Israel’s co-operation with nine EU agencies, including Europol and the European Space Agency
One senior EU diplomat criticized the decision citing Israel’s non-compliance with its obligations under international law. He noted that not one minister was prepared to oppose Tuesday’s agreement for fear of irking Jewish communities.
“I was struck by the fact that a whole range of relations was offered to Israel – at the request of Israel – as if nothing is happening on the ground,” the diplomat said.
“Most ministers are too afraid to speak out in case they are singled out as being too critical towards Israel, because, in the end, relations with Israel are on the one hand relations with the Jewish community at large and on the other hand with Washington – nobody wants to have fuss with Washington.
“So (ministers) are fine with making political statements but they refrain from taking concrete action.”
In January 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, the EU and Israel postponed upgrade talks due to the situation in Gaza.