Thursday

19th Jul 2018

Mogherini makes light of leaked EU paper on Israel sanctions

  • Israeli soldier in occupied West Bank (Photo: Rosie Gabrielle)

Europe’s new foreign relations chief has denied the EU is in talks on Israel sanctions, despite a leaked paper on the issue.

Federica Mogherini, who chaired her first foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Monday (17 November), told press the leaked paper is a “technical working hypothesis” which “member states requested” when her predecessor was in office.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

She added: “It is not at the heart of today’s discussions on how to start a positive process with the Israelis and Palestinians. There’s currently no question of sanctioning anybody. The question is rather how to motivate people to … restart peace talks”.

Mogherini spoke shortly after Israeli daily Haaretz published a two-page internal EU text entitled: “Non-paper based on MS inputs on possible follow-up on East Jerusalem”.

The preamble says MS (member states) tasked EU diplomats on 11 September with drawing up the options.

The paper lists some possible “incentives” to stop Israel building settlements that will make a two-state solution impossible.

But it is heavier on the sanctions side.

The possible punitive measures include: “recalling ambassadors”; “systematic inclusion of territorial clause in all … agreements” to make sure they do not apply to Israeli activity over the Green Line; “reassessing distribution of [EU] funds”; and “strengthen[ing] advice to EU citizens … public communication on settlements and settlement economic activities”.

It also contains a second section classified at the higher level of “Restricted”.

The more sensitive section speaks of: “actions vis-a-vis EU companies operating in settlements” and “actions vis-a-vis settlers (no contact policy with settler organisations/refuse to engage with settlers including public figures and those publicly rejecting the two-state solution/assess possible EU entry policy for violent settlers”.

On the Palestinian side, it adds that the EU could take “actions reinforcing the Palestinian statehood” on “protocol issues” and “support, or non-opposition, to applications to international organisations; recognition”.

It also warns the EU could “reassess” funds for Palestine which help to “perpetuate the status quo of occupation”.

Despite Mogherini’s dismissal, EU states have already taken some of the actions in the paper.

The EU recently blocked grants and loans for Israeli entities which operate on Palestinian land and is drafting a code on retail labels for settler exports.

The Dutch government has put pressure on Dutch firms to abandon investments in occupied territories.

The Swedish government recently recognised Palestinian statehood. The British and Irish parliaments urged their governments to do the same in non-binding resolutions, while Spanish MPs will hold a vote at 4pm local time on a similar motion on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, if the EU makes good on its idea of isolating Israeli politicians who reject a Palestinian state, it could mean refusals to meet with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, economy minister Naftali Bennett, housing minister Uri Ariel, and several MPs in the ruling Likud party.

Mogherini’s dismissal also came amid strong language in the EU ministers’ formal conclusions on Monday.

The joint text said the “EU deeply deplores and strongly opposes” recent settlement expansions in and around East Jerusalem which “run counter to international law and directly threaten the two-state solution”.

It also urged Israeli politicians to stop making statements about building a new Jewish temple at Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount - a holy site for Jews and Muslims - due to the idea’s “deeply destabilising effects”.

Echoing the leaked sanctions paper, it said the EU “remains ready to take further action in order to protect the viability of the two-state solution”.

Mogherini, who recently visited Israel and Palestine, noted the EU cannot afford to take “a wait-and-see” approach on the Arab-Israeli conflict because the two-state solution is slipping away.

She said the EU foreign service has no mandate to co-ordinate Palestine recognition by EU states.

But she added: “We did talk about the need to have exchange of information on steps taken by national parliaments so we can at least prepare reactions”.

“There’s no common approach to this. But we could at least agree to share the main lines of thinking on these matters”.

Opinion

EU must create safe, legal pathways to Europe

As the rapporteur for the European Parliament on an EU regulation on resettlement, my colleagues and I have outlined an effective plan based on solidarity and humanitarian principles.

News in Brief

  1. Trump threatens EU over Google fine
  2. Spain withdraws arrest warrant for Catalan separatists
  3. EU readies counter-measures on possible US car tariffs
  4. EU Commission launches probe into Hungary's 'Stop Soros' law
  5. EU warns Turkey on anti-terror bill
  6. Report: EU secretly scorns UK's Brexit paper
  7. Hungary: UN treaty could 'inspire millions' of migrants
  8. Nato reacts after Trump disparages Montenegro

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  2. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  4. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  5. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  7. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  8. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  10. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  12. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us