Daily Israel Report

EU Envoy Says 'No Reason' to Stop Talks Over Fatah-Hamas Unity

EU Ambassador questions stopping talks to 'send a message that Fatah and Hamas are different', says EU is pressuring 'both sides'.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/20/2014, 3:49 PM

Lars Faaborg-Andersen
Lars Faaborg-Andersen
Public Relations

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen spoke to reporters in Jerusalem on Tuesday, saying that he didn't feel peace talks should have been stopped last month over the unity deal between Fatah and the terrorist group Hamas.

"I don't see a reason for the peace talks stopping in order to send a message that there's a difference between Fatah and Hamas," opined Faaborg-Andersen.

While indeed Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction has made clear that there is little distinction between them and Hamas in terms of their goal of destroying Israel, which would of course call the end result of any peace process into question, the ambassador's remarks are made the more questionable given EU policy.

The EU lost no time in welcoming the Fatah-Hamas unity deal. However, 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.

"There's no doubt that the peace process really occupies the EU, as it does (Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu, who said he wants two states," added the ambassador.

"Therefore we supported the initiative of (US Secretary of State John) Kerry, and we put pressure on both sides, including the (Palestinian) Authority. We are concerned about the blocked path (of negotiations) and call for a return to talks, and restraint from taking unilateral steps," concluded Faaborg-Andersen.

The EU ambassador has indeed attempted to put pressure, at least on Israel, in threats made 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 Kerry threatened Israel with boycotts, which was made more ominous by reports that Washington's top diplomat was himself orchestrating the European boycott threats.