Gabi Ashkenazi
Gabi Ashkenazi Kobi Richter/ TPS

The Israeli Foreign Ministry responded Tuesday afternoon to a European Union statement Monday evening in which the EU both congratulated Israel on the formation of its new government – while also urging the Jewish state not to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

In its response, the Foreign Ministry, under the leadership of Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi (Blue and White), lamented the EU’s use of “megaphone diplomacy” in place of “intimate” dialogue, and noted that the EU statement ignored the threats Israel faces.

“Regarding the Message from EU High Commissioner Borrell: The Israeli Foreign Ministry would like to thank the EU for their message congratulating Israel on the swearing in of a new government.”

“Israel is and the EU share history, values, interests, opportunities and both face threats. It is regrettable that once again, the security of Israel, a key partner of the EU, and the threats that Israel face, were not mentioned at all and were not given the centrality that they should be in such a message.”

“As Foreign Minister Ashkenazi said in his remarks on taking office yesterday, we expect a significant dialogue with our allies in Europe.”

“This ‘megaphone diplomacy’ is not a substitute for intimate diplomatic dialogue and will not advance the role the EU is seeking to fulfill.”

On Monday, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell issued a statement welcoming the formation of Israel’s Thirty-Fifth Government, while also expressing “grave concern” regarding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

“In this vein,” said Borrell, “we note with grave concern the provision – to be submitted for approval by the Israeli cabinet – on the annexation of parts of occupied Palestinian territories, as stated by the Prime Minister when presenting his government to the Knesset on 17 May and as envisaged in the coalition agreement signed earlier. We strongly urge Israel to refrain from any unilateral decision that would lead to the annexation of any occupied Palestinian territory and would be, as such, contrary to International Law.”