EU Worried About Netanyahu

Several EU officials fear that Netanyahu will not support their stance on the creation of a PA state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Maayana Miskin ,

Netanyahu causing EU concern
Netanyahu causing EU concern

Several European Union officials expressed apprehension on Monday as Likud Chairman Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu worked to form a coalition. Netanyahu could be less likely than his predecessor, Kadima head Ehud Olmert, to reach a deal including the creation of a Palestinian Authority state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, they said.

"We could have a rough start,” warned Czech Vice-Premier Alexandr Vondra, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency. “We need to move forward on the [Israel-PA] peace process,” he added.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bilt accused Netanyahu of undermining negotiations already, saying Netanyahu's conditions for those seeking to join his coalition “are clearly incompatible with existing commitments of the peace process.”

"It is very important to send a strong signal that this is not going to be acceptable,” Bilt added, in a warning to EU leaders.

Other EU leaders urged patience, saying the EU should wait and see what Netanyahu did before criticizing.

"Let's wait until we have a result... We are ready to cooperate with a government elected by the people,” said EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana.

Solana joined his colleagues in pushing for progress in Israel's negotiations with the PA, saying, “the time for concentrating only on crisis management is over.. we have to do the conflict resolution as soon as possible.”

The outgoing Kadima-led government held negotiations with the PA for more than a year, beginning in late 2007. The content of the talks was secret.

Netanyahu has attempted to convince Kadima's new head, Tzipi Livni, to join him in forming a centrist unity government, but Livni has rejected his offers, as has Labor head Ehud Barak. Netanyahu still has the option of creating a strongly right-wing government in cooperation with religious and nationalist parties.