EU Envoy Otte: Withdrawal is the Model for Jerusalem

The EU envoy to the Middle East, Mark Otte, said in an interview appearing this weekend that Israel's recent uprooting of Jewish communities is a model for the rest of Samaria, Judea and Jerusalem.

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Nissan Ratzlav-Katz, | updated: 01:07

"Our position regarding the West Bank and east Jerusalem is identical - they are occupied territories, and the future of Jerusalem will also be discussed in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians," Mr. Otte told Al-Quds, a Jerusalem-based Arabic-language newspaper.

Otte dismissed statements by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Israel will retain large blocs of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria in any permanent arrangement with the Palestinian Authority. Such commitments, the European Union envoy asserted, are nothing more than "spin" intended for internal Israeli consumption.

The EU also does not take seriously Israel's demand that the PA fulfill its commitments to disarm Arab terrorist groups. According to the Al-Quds interview, Mr. Otte said the EU does not demand that the PA confront terrorist groups militarily, or that the PA initiate a civil war in order to carry out its obligations.

In June, Mr. Otte defended European Union contacts with Hamas representatives, despite the organization being listed as a terrorist organization in EU countries, by saying that "if they are duly elected in free and fair elections under international supervision, you have to know what to do with elected representatives."