High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell was speaking after a video conference of top EU diplomats and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday.
Borrell said the European foreign ministers “were clear about the consequences of a possible annexation for the prospects of a two-state solution, but also for regional stability.”
The EU foreign policy chief further highlighted that the 27-nation bloc encourages both Israeli and Palestinian authorities to engage in a credible and meaningful political process, arguing that a plan presented by the US on the decades-long conflict — known as the ‘deal of the century’ — does not “respect internationally-agreed parameters.”
The US plan, he added, “is maybe a starting point for negotiations. Theoretically a negotiation does not finish at the same point it starts, because if not it would not be a negotiation, but an ultimatum.”
Borrell also highlighted German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’ proposal to Pompeo, during the video conference, for the creation of a “multilateral format” for discussions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The top German diplomat, Borrell added, was “insisting a lot on the need of preventing annexation, because it would not be without consequences.
Borrell said Pompeo only took note of EU member states’ opinions and “has not accepted or refused anything.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set July 1 for the start of cabinet discussions on extending Israeli “sovereignty” over settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.
Palestine: EU must resort to sanctions if Israel steals more land
Earlier on Monday, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Saeb Erekat said “what the US is doing in Palestine is a threat against every single principle of peaceful coexistence between nations.”
The remarks came prior to EU foreign ministers’ online meeting with their US counterpart.
“They [the top EU diplomats] should say that in case of annexation … there will be consequences for Israel, including sanctions,” Erekat told online newspaper EUobserver in an interview.
“And they should remind the US their annexation plan is a threat to the basic principles of historic transatlantic cooperation,” he added.
The high-ranking Palestinian official stressed that the annexation could be stopped through the EU’s diplomatic means as well as the use of sanctions.
“Some forget that the EU is Israel’s main trade partner and therefore there are important tools that can be used to implement international law,” Erekat said.
He added, “We got here because of the impunity granted to Israel, including incentives such as the EU-Israel association agreement, which continued unabated despite the severe Israeli violations to its Article Two.”
The article states that the provisions of the agreement shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles.
Asked if West Bank annexation could provoke Palestinian protests, Erekat said, “I’m certain that some people in Israel are doing everything possible for this to happen. I can just say that our [the PLO’s] commitment to international law, diplomacy, and the international legal system has been proven.”
“The question is: What kind of Palestinian resistance is acceptable for those who say ‘No’ to armed struggle, but also ‘No’ to BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel], ‘No’ to banning settlement products, ‘No’ to labeling [of products made in Israeli settlements], ‘No’ to stopping companies from working in occupied territory … ‘No’ to stopping organizations funding settlements, and ‘No’ to international legal action? What kind of message are they sending to our people?” Erekat said.