Error executing child request for handler 'System.Web.Mvc.HttpHandlerUtil+ServerExecuteHttpHandlerAsyncWrapper'. WebpartsBlocks/HeadlinesBox/SomeWebparts
Daily Israel Report

Five Days Later, EU Finally Condemns Kidnapping

Statement condemns abduction 'in the strongest terms' - but also pushes peace agenda.
By Tova Dvorin and Ari Yashar
First Publish: 6/17/2014, 1:46 PM

EU's Catherine Ashton and Binyamin Netanyahu
EU's Catherine Ashton and Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

The European Union (EU) finally issued a condemnation of the abduction of three yeshiva students by Hamas terrorists on their way home from school Tuesday, over five days after the fact and after a torrent of media and political criticism over a blasé attitude toward terror. 

"We condemn in the strongest terms the abduction of three Israeli students in the West Bank and call for their immediate release and safe return to their families," the statement said.

The EU then used the statement as a platform to promote its belief in resuming peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). 

"Such acts can only undermine international efforts to encourage a resumption of peace negotiations," it continued. "We are following developments closely and remain in constant contact with our Israeli and Palestinian counterparts." 

Too little, too late?

While a delegation of EU MPs visited the kidnapped teens' families earlier this week and expressed support for their safety, no official EU condemnation has been issued yet - until now. The backhanded statement comes over five days after the abduction, one day after a similar statement from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. 

It is worth noting that despite the support in context of the kidnapping, which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has accused Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas of conducting, the EU welcomed a recent Hamas-Fatah unity government.

Indeed, a delegation of EU officials traveled to Gaza last Wednesday to meet Gaza-based members of the unity government. Their visit came on the heels of one by the UN's official envoy Robert Serry last Monday, when he became the first senior international diplomat to meet with members of the new unity government.

Hamas is on the EU's 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.

The statement also pushes the EU's peace agenda, despite a statement recently from EU ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen claiming that the pressure is just "friendly advice." 

"I don't think that we are pressurizing [sic] Israel, we are trying to convince through open dialogue and debate [. . .] [to get] Israel to take some of the decisions in the peace process that we think are the right ones for Israel," he stated. "So we are providing what I would term 'friendly advice' on what we think Israel should do - particularly [regarding] the relationship with the Palestinians, and we are very much encouraged by the process that Secretary Kerry has put on, we are 100% behind it, and therefore we [are] also concerned now, when the process it at an impasse."