Wednesday

13th Dec 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.

Feature

Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees

Lebanon hosts over one million Syrian refugees, and has received some €1bn in EU funds. Caught in a geo-political tug of war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Lebanon's domestic politics have cast a longer shadow over its Syrian 'guests'.

EU complicit in Libyan torture, says Amnesty

The EU and its members states have signed up to 'Faustian pact' with Libyan authorities in the their effort to prevent migrant and refugee boat departures towards Italy, says Amnesty International.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs vote to allow phosphate additives in kebabs
  2. Babis government sworn in in Czech Republic
  3. Russia looks to crypto-currencies to evade EU sanctions
  4. Juncker embroiled in Luxembourg wire-tapping trial
  5. Kurz close to forming new Austrian right-wing government
  6. Ministers reach deal on fish quotas but overfishing continues
  7. UK parliament to vote on right to veto final Brexit deal
  8. French government rules out Corsican autonomy

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. Brits in EU-27 are uncertain, alone and far from protected
  2. 2018 fishing quotas agreed - but Brexit muddies waters
  3. Medical HQ to spearhead EU military push
  4. Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland
  5. EU renews glyphosate approval, pledges transparency
  6. Romania searching for EU respectability
  7. Last chance for Poland to return property to rightful owners
  8. Commission attacks Tusk on 'anti-European' migrant plan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity
  3. Union for the MediterraneanMediterranean Countries Commit to Strengthening Women's Role in Region
  4. Bio-Based IndustriesRegistration for BBI JU Stakeholder Forum about to close. Last chance to register!
  5. European Heart NetworkThe Time Is Ripe for Simplified Front-Of-Pack Nutrition Labelling
  6. Counter BalanceNew EU External Investment Plan Risks Sidelining Development Objectives
  7. EU2017EEEAS Calls for Eastern Partnership Countries to Enter EU Market Through Estonia
  8. Dialogue PlatformThe Turkey I No Longer Know
  9. World Vision7 Million Children at Risk in the DRC: Donor Meeting to Focus on Saving More Lives
  10. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level