EU set to reassess ties if Israel doesn’t move on peace

The European Union is inconspicuously but determinedly threatening to reevaluate bilateral ties with Israel if the Netanyahu government fails to make progress toward a two-state solution and continues its current policy of allowing construction beyond the pre-1967 lines.

The EU’s new policy has gone largely unnoticed due to this summer’s Operation Protective Edge, but EU officials are already busy at work on a set of sanctions against Israel that Brussels could enact whenever the union’s political echelon gives a green light. Indeed, some in the EU are currently considering implementing a mechanism that would immediately penalize Israel for every step deemed unhelpful to the peace process (such as settlement expansion), a senior European diplomat told The Times of Israel.

On July 22, in the middle of the 50-day war with Hamas, the 28 EU foreign ministers issued a joint statement that was widely seen as pro-Israel, as it condemned indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians and called for the disarmament of all terrorist organizations in Gaza. Even the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem praised the EU for the statement.

However, the text also severely criticized Israel, as the EU has in the past, for various policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians, including continued settlement expansion, “settler violence,” the “worsening of living conditions for Palestinians,” house demolitions, “evictions and forced transfers” and “increasing tensions” at the Temple Mount…