EU's High Representative hints of impending diplomatic pressure against Israel

EU's High Representative hints organization will 'work to discourage any possible initiative towards [Israeli] annexation.'

Eitan Divinsky ,

Josep Borrell
Josep Borrell

A Q & A video conference was held Saturday at the European Union (EU) with the organization's High Representative Josep Borrell. Borrell who was asked a number of questions regarding issues connected to the coronavirus crisis, Syrian Civil War, situation in the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, and concerns surrounding refugees fleeing Venezuela and a number of fledgling North African nations.

Asked what the EU would do if Israel went ahead with the annexation of parts of Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, Borrell hinted the EU would do whatever possible to pressure Israel against carrying out its plan: "We must work to discourage any possible initiative towards annexation. This will require reaching out, by all of us, to Israel, US, Palestinians and Arab partners, using all channels that the EU and the Member States have."

Borrell stopped just short of equating a possible annexation of Judea and Samaria with Russia's occupation of Crimea: "Crimea was part of a sovereign state sitting in the United Nations. We can discuss how alike is the situation in the Middle East but international law has to be respected everywhere. We cannot have a selective backing of international law."

On a positive note, the EU's High Representative said he would congratulate Israel's incoming government once it was established and that he is hoping to visit the country.

Borrell appeared to be skirting a question about the EU upholding the Iran Nuclear Deal despite American opposition, saying that, "...this issue has not been part of our debate today. We have been talking about several things on the broader Middle East, but - believe me - no Member State has raised this question. We have to think about it, but for the time being I cannot explain you something that has not happened."