Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

EU urges Israel to co-operate with Palestinians on kidnapping crisis

  • The kidnapping has stirred memories of Gilad Shalit, a kidnapped Israeli soldier who was held in Gaza for five years before his release in 2011 (Photo: Josh Evnin)

The EU has urged Israel to keep working with Palestinian authorities in order to help get back three teenagers kidnapped in the West Bank.

It said in a statement on Tuesday (17 June) it “encourages continued close cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services to ensure the swift release of the abductees.”

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It added that “such acts can only undermine international efforts to encourage a resumption of peace negotiations.”

The vanishing of the Jewish boys while on their way home from school in the Israeli-occupied West Bank last Thursday has caused a political and security storm in Israel over the past week.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyhau has said they were kidnapped by Hamas, a Palestinian militant group which is designated as a “terrorist” entity by the EU.

His forces have arrested dozens of Palestinians in an operation to find the missing youths.

He has also said it proves the EU and the US were wrong to endorse a Palestinian unity government formed by Hamas and by Fatah, a more moderate Palestinian group, and that Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, will be held responsible for their safety.

Israeli officials had earlier criticised the EU for taking so long to speak out.

EU sources told EUobserver the delay was caused by the fact its diplomats were trying to get their own information on the developments and because they were busy with other priorities on the crisis in Iraq and the nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna.

One contact said: “The Israeli Prime Minister says he has clear evidence of Hamas’ involvement. But he has not shared it with us.”

The source added the situation has put Abbas in a “difficult position” because “he looks bad in the eyes of the Israelis over his new relationship with Hamas, and he looks bad in the eyes of Hamas because his secrity forces are co-operating with Israel at a time when it is arresting scores of Hamas members”.

For his part, the EU ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, said that even if Hamas did it, the Palestinian unity government should not be held responsible because it is composed of “technocrats” who are not part of the group.

“Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups do not have representatives sitting in this government,” he told The Times of Israel over the weekend.

In a sharpening of the dispute over Hamas’ new role in the peace process, Faaborg-Andersen was on Monday summoned by the Israeli foreign ministry for a formal complaint.

The Union last week after meeting with the League of Arab States in Athens published a declaration urging Israel to co-operate with the Palestinian unity cabinet and blaming it for causing a “grave humanitarian situation” in Gaza – a strip of land ruled by the Hamas, which is under an Israeli blockade.

“From our point of view, the statement was so one-sided it’s as if it was dictated by the darker reaches of the Arab world,” a spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, Paul Hirschson, said.

A spokesman for Hamas, Ghazi Hamad, declined to comment on the situation, saying the timing is “too sensitive”.

A second EU diplomatic source told this website he believes there is “no appetite” on the Israeli or the Palestinian side for the situation to escalate into violence despite the severity of Israel’s operation to recover the missing boys.

He added that “everything depends on what happens to their safety”.

But he warned that: “Netanyahu’s decision to politicise the situation, by using it to discredit the unity government, is dangerous, because it could lead the kidnappers to take extreme action whatever their original intentions might have been.”

Opinion

Time for EU to put real pressure on Israel

As Israel launches Gaza ground offensive, a former Sakharov laureate calls for EU countries to impose real pressure on Israel to end 47 years of occupation.

Opinion

EU can still end Rohingya ethnic cleansing

If European leaders speak and act now, there's a chance ethnic cleansing could end before the last Burmese Rohingya is killed, captured, or exiled.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish Court declares Catalan referendum law void
  2. EU to keep 'Dieselgate' letter secret
  3. No deal yet on Mediterranean alliance for EU agencies
  4. EU Commission condemns Maltese journalist's murder
  5. Poland denies wrongdoing over forest logging
  6. Risk to asylum kids in EU increasing, says charity
  7. Schroeder warns of Turkey and Russia drifting towards China
  8. EU parliament wants equal pay for posted workers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU rejects UK claim it's slowing Brexit talks
  2. Nepal troops arrive in Libya to guard UN refugee agency
  3. Is Banking Authority HQ the Brexit 'booby prize'?
  4. EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions
  5. No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner
  6. EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry
  7. EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says
  8. Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist