EU distributes document suggesting sanctions on Israel: report
The European Union has disseminated a “confidential” draft document to its 28 member states which includes a proposal for imposing sanctions on Israel if Tel Aviv takes actions in the West Bank hindering the possibility of a two-state solution, a newspaper citing Western and Israeli officials reported Sunday.
The classified paper was intended only for the EU members but European diplomats leaking the information to Israel made it known, the Haaretz reported.
While Israelis could not obtain the full text of the document, some key details have been divulged by three EU diplomats and two senior Israeli officials.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officials told Haaretz that while the document consists of mainly “sticks,” it wields a “sticks and carrots” approach in case Israel further derails efforts at Palestinian autonomy.
“The peace process is in deep freeze, but the situation on the ground is not. There is big frustration in Europe and zero tolerance for settlement activity. This paper is part of the internal brainstorming being done in Brussels these days, about what can be done to keep the two-state solution alive,” one diplomat told Haaretz.
Meanwhile, there are no signs that Israel is willing to make the two-state solution a possibility.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday that Israel will never agree to limit its construction activity in annexed east Jerusalem.
Israel seized east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.
Bill for ‘Jewish state’
At his weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he’s pushing forward a bill that enshrines in law that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, the Associated Press reported.
Netanyahu described Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and since its democratic nature has been legislated, so should its Jewish nature.
“The balance between these two facets is necessary,” he said in light of Palestinians and others refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
The bill however has not been drafted yet but it comes at a time of high tensions between Jews and Arabs, who make up 20 percent of the population and could feel further marginalized by the new legislation.
Opposition lawmakers expressed disagreement, saying the bill will provoke anger.