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EU Ambassador Will Answer Your Questions Live

EU ambassador to Israel will answer questions from Israeli public on Wednesday; one question asks about support for Hamas unity.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/11/2014, 9:39 PM

Lars Faaborg-Andersen
Lars Faaborg-Andersen
Public Relations

The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, will hold a live internet chat session with Israeli internet users on Wednesday, in which he will answer questions from the Israeli public.

The "internet meeting" between the EU ambassador, who took his post roughly half a year ago, and the wider Israeli public, is hailed as the first of its kind.

Those interested in participating are asked to submit questions to the Facebook page of the EU delegation in Israel. On Wednesday at 3 p.m. Israeli time, the ambassador will respond to the questions in a live chat room, which will be accessible through this link.

One Israeli Facebook user has already asked about the EU's support for the unity deal between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the terrorist organization Hamas in late April, which torpedoed the peace talks. At the time EU Spokesman Michael Mann praised the move as an "important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state."

It is worth noting that Hamas is on the EU's official list of terrorist organizations. That listing specifically includes both "Hamas" and "Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem," meaning that both the military and governmental branches of Hamas are recognized as terror groups by the EU.

"Creating direct contact"

"The goal of the chat is to create direct contact between the most senior official of the European Union in Israel and the Israeli public; we are open to answer every question asked by the internet users," said David Kriss, Press and Information Manager of the EU delegation to Israel.

The internet meeting is being held in honor of Europe Day, which was May 9, in memory of the declaration by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman on the same date in 1950 creating a supranational union of European states, the forerunner to the EU.

"It's important to us to deepen the connection between the European Union and the Israeli public, and aside from Facebook activities, we've recently opened a Twitter account, where we are live updating regarding the EU delegation to Israel's activities," added Kriss.

More possible questions for the ambassador

Some other questions that may be raised in the internet meeting concern Faaborg-Andersen's threats in February, when he said that if peace talks fail "there is a risk that you (Israel) will face increasing isolation," in a less than subtle hint at boycotts.

The comments came just days after US Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Israel with boycotts, which was made more ominous by reports that Kerry was orchestrating the European boycott threats.

A similar source of diplomatic tension between Israel and the EU climaxed last November, when the two sides reached a compromise on Israel's participation in the "Horizon 2020" European scientific collaboration project; participation which was jeopardized by new EU guidelines that boycotted entities over the 1949 Armistice line.

According to the compromise, the EU noted in the written agreement that it does not recognize Israeli activities over the 1949 Armistice line and is not prevented from its new boycott guidelines, while Israel attached a section emphasizing that it does not see in the EU's stance an obligating legal precedent.