Report: Israel shunned EU envoy during his visit to Israel

Israeli officials reportedly refused to meet Sven Koopmans, new EU envoy for Middle East, due to the EU's handling of the Gaza fighting.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

European Union flag
European Union flag
iStock

The Israeli Foreign Ministry shunned Sven Koopmans, the new EU envoy for the Middle East peace process, during his first visit to Jerusalem last week, Barak Ravid of Axios reported on Wednesday.

Israeli officials told Ravid the boycott was to protest EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s handling of the recent Gaza fighting. The officials said Borrell didn't condemn Hamas' attacks strongly enough or give sufficient support to Israel’s right to defend itself.

In a statement released during the fighting, Borrell condemned the violence in Israel and said it "needs to stop immediately".

"The firing of rockets from Gaza against civilian populations in Israel is totally unacceptable and feeds escalatory dynamics," he said, adding, “We reiterate our call on all sides to engage in de-escalatory efforts. Further civilian casualties must be prevented as a priority.”

According to Ravid’s report, two weeks ago, Koopmans told the Israeli government he wanted to come to Jerusalem for meetings.

The Israel Foreign Ministry told Koopmans the timing for the visit wasn’t good and he should postpone.

When Koopmans arrived anyway, all his requests for meetings with representatives of the Israeli government were denied except for one meeting with a Ministry of Defense official, Israeli officials said.

EU diplomats rejected the Israeli criticism and told Ravid, “Koopmans, who has been mandated by the 27 EU foreign ministers as their collective envoy to travel to the region, looks forward to engaging further with Israeli authorities."



top