Saturday

20th Jul 2019

Trump's Israel plan to 'test' EU resolve

  • Herman Van Rompuy (r) with former US president Barack Obama (c) before Donald Trump came to power (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

EU countries ought to draw "red lines" for US president Donald Trump on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Herman Van Rompuy, the former head of the EU Council, has said.

"Trump's plan is shaping up to be a major test of Europe's resolve to defend its interests and values in the face of increasing pressure on the multilateral, law-based order we hold so dear," Van Rompuy told EUobserver in a statement.

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.

... or join as a group

  • Donald Trump recognised Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, including sacred Muslim sites (Photo: Hadar)

"Europe should lay down its red lines and make clear it will oppose any proposal that crosses them," he added.

The US president is expected to shortly unveil his plan on how to end the oldest conflict in Europe's neighbourhood.

The EU and UN back a two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as Israel and Palestine's shared capital.

But Trump has already recognised Israel's annexation of Jerusalem from Palestine and of the Golan Heights from Syria, amid EU concern that he is preparing to also recognise its annexation of settlements in Palestine's West Bank.

Van Rompuy is a former Belgian prime minister who chaired EU summits for five years from 2009 to 2014 and who works as an adviser to the European People's Party, a centre-right political bloc in Europe.

He spoke out after adding his name to an open letter on the conflict by 37 former EU foreign ministers and leaders sent before the Easter holiday.

Israel was "sliding into a one-state reality of unequal rights" and Trump was "gambling with the security and stability" of Europe's neighbourhood, the letter, sent to the EU Council and the foreign service, said.

It urged the 28 EU countries to restate their commitment to Palestinian statehood in order to protect their own "vital interests" as well as broader principles of international diplomacy.

Trump's "disturbing" actions had made the EU restatement "more important than ever," Mogens Lykketoft, a Danish MP and former foreign minister who wrote and organised the open letter, told EUobserver at the time.

Van Rompuy added that "scaling up Europe's collective efforts to safeguard agreed parameters and secure respect for international law is the only way forward towards a lasting solution to the [Arab-Israeli] conflict".

The US and EU are Nato allies with decades of history of shared Middle East and wider foreign and economic policy.

But Trump has also questioned America's Nato membership, torn up other EU and UN-backed accords, such as one on Iran nuclear arms control, and imposed protectionist tariffs on EU trade.

The array of 37 names included former ministers from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Nordic countries, and the UK.

It also included ones from Italy and Spain in the south and from Austria, Poland, and Romania in the east.

But the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia have forged closer relations with Trump and Israel in recent years, undermining European unity on the Middle East.

It "always worked better" when Europe worked as one with the US, Van Rompuy added.

"However, in situations where fundamental differences emerge, we must not shirk our own commitment to defending the global rules-based order," he said.

China agrees to address key EU concerns in snub to Trump

In a last-minute push, EU and Chinese officials agree on a joint statement at their summit in Brussels addressing some of the EU's longstanding grievances. Trump's "America First" policy seemed to have pushed the two closer together.

Feature

EU offers terse response to Gaza youth shot by Israelis

A letter signed by 250 medical staff is demanding the EU stop research funding for Israeli defence and security firms, in light of the some 6,500 Palestinians shot in the past year by Israeli soldiers.

Trump advocates no-deal Brexit on eve of UK visit

Johnson and Farage in charge, a no-deal Brexit, chlorinated chicken in British shops, and privatised healthcare - that is what the UK should head towards, Trump and his ambassador have said.

EU rejects public call to ban Israeli settler products

A public petition from people around Europe demanded the European Commission prohibit trade with Israeli settlements. But the Brussels-executive rejected the request, telling reporters it has no legal basis to act on the matter.

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  2. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  3. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  4. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law
  5. Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators
  6. Rudderless Europe: Will real Germany please stand up?
  7. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory
  8. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us