Israel blocks Borrell visit in response to EU criticism – Middle East Monitor


Israel responded to European criticism by blocking the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, from making an official visit to the occupation state and the Palestinian Authority. “There is no reason to reward him [Borrell] for his conduct,” said Israel in a fit of pique.

The snub follows comments Borrell made on Tuesday while addressing the European Parliament during a special session on “the decline of democracy in Israel.” Denying the high representative’s comments, Israel told the EU not to “interfere” in its internal affairs.

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Borrell was more scathing in his criticism of Israel in an article published last week. “Israeli settler violence in the West Bank increasingly threatens Palestinian lives and livelihoods – almost always with impunity,” he said. “Furthermore, Israeli military operations often cause the death of Palestinian civilians, often without effective accountability; illegal settlements are expanding on occupied land; and the sensitive status quo regarding Holy Sites is eroding.

“While Israelis can count on a strong state and army, the Palestinians have no such confidence. This huge imbalance in the ability of man to control his own destiny is visible at every roadside checkpoint. All these facts are obstacles to peace.”

Since the beginning of 2023 alone, more than 80 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli army and settler attacks. All Israeli settlements and Jewish settlers on Palestinian land are illegal under international law.

The EU, which is Israel’s largest trading partner with 29 percent of its goods trade, has shown signs of losing patience with the state’s routine human rights abuses and violations of international law.

The EU’s close economic ties with Tel Aviv continued in the context of Israeli violence, the election of a far-right government and the backsliding of democracy. This boosted the credibility of the 27-member bloc. The consensus within the global human rights community regarding Israel’s practice of apartheid has also pushed the EU into a corner, claiming that it is upholding international norms that are being held up for ridicule.

READ: Israel asks the EU not to meddle in its internal affairs

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