Friday

20th May 2022

Israel risks derailing EU election mission to Palestine

  • Gaza Strip. Palestinians are holding their first legislative elections in 15 years (Photo: Nikolaj Nielsen)

The EU's request to observe upcoming elections in Palestine risks being scuppered by a non-responsive Israel.

"Despite continuous contact with the Israeli authorities, over the past seven weeks, a reply granting access has yet to be received," said a European Commission spokesperson, in an email on Monday (19 April).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He noted the delay could derail the mission, which aims to oversee Palestinian legislative elections on 22 May.

Those elections were announced by Palestinian president Abbas in January, who then requested the EU send an observer mission.

The EU agreed and on 8 February sent a permission request to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But the Israelis authorities have yet to reply.

The EU says it requires "a long lead-time to prepare", noting for instance that it typically deploys an "exploratory mission" months in advance.

The non-response from the Israelis has since "considerably reduced the EU option to observe the 22 May legislative elections," said the EU spokesperson.

Other options are now being internally discussed, he added.

The Israelis were contacted by EUobserver for a comment, but have yet to respond.

The issue has also irked some MEPs. Among them is Danish Green MEP Margrete Auken and Swedish socialist Even Incir.

Together, they will be sending a letter to Israel's ambassador to the EU, Aharon Leshno-Yaar.

"Preventing the EU from supporting democracy is unacceptable, no matter where it happens," it says, in a copy seen by EUobserver.

Auken had observed the election in Palestine in 2006 and is hoping to return in May. In an emailed statement, she also faulted the European Union for not pushing the Israelis enough.

"Where is Josep Borrell? Remember: inaction also sends a signal," she said, referring to the EU's foreign policy chief.

Borrell had held a meeting with EU foreign ministers, also on Monday. But the issue was not on the agenda, which was instead dominated by Ukraine.

The last time Palestine held elections was in 2006, giving Hamas a parliamentary majority.

The win erupted into violence in the Gaza Strip, pitting Hamas and Palestinian factions against one another.

Abbas wants the 22 May polls to be held "in all governorates of Palestine, including east Jerusalem", which had been occupied by Israel.

Hopeless Gaza Strip ripe for Islamic State, says UN head

Fears are mounting that more extreme militants, possibly linked to the Islamic State, will gain a foothold in the Gaza Strip as trapped youth lose all sense of hope in a conflict that is on the verge of boiling over.

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.

Opinion

We Palestinians are looking to the EU to uphold our rights

As European foreign ministers meet to talk about Israel and Palestine, Palestinians from both sides of the Green Line will be looking to the EU, Israel's main trade partner, to take the moral, legal and political steps required.

Opinion

Israel's besmirching of Palestine NGOs must be reversed

The designation perfectly fits into Israel's long-conceived strategy to besmirch Palestinian civil society voices under false allegations of terrorism and antisemitism, while pressuring any international actor that grants them a hearing, and actively demanding their defunding.

EU states warn of looming food-price crisis

Prices of cereals, fertilisers, and oilseed have shot up drastically in several European markets due to Russia's war on Ukraine, prompting some member states to seek EU aid.

Podcast

Ultraconservatives in Putin's shadow

Vladimir Putin's Ukraine war has threatened to be a public relations disaster for hard-right gatherings like the Conservative Political Action Conference — now meeting in Budapest and featuring Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, who remains highly-cordial with the Kremlin.

Opinion

Will 'Putin's Nato' follow Warsaw Pact into obscurity?

Valdimir Putin's equivalent to Nato — the Collective Security Treaty Organization of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Belarus — is convening in Moscow next week to give cover that Russia is not alone in its war against Ukraine.

News in Brief

  1. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts
  2. Macron seeks 'quick' EU answer on Moldova application
  3. German chancellor to tour Western Balkans
  4. UN: more than 8,000 civilians killed or injured in Ukraine
  5. EU agrees new minimum gas storage target
  6. EU justice agency to have more roles on war crimes
  7. More than 50,000 Ukrainians refused entry into EU in 2021
  8. Germany open to EU treaty change 'if required'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  2. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  3. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  4. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  5. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms
  6. EU states warn of looming food-price crisis
  7. Ultraconservatives in Putin's shadow
  8. Nordic Bridges unveil latest highlights of Spring programme

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us