Israel has stabbed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the back, say sources in the Italian Foreign Ministry close to Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, the European Union's next high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. They spoke of an unprecedented clash between Europe and Israel in the aftermath of the recent Gaza war. While Mogherini will attempt to present an impression of balance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the mood in Rome, as in Brussels, is one of great anger toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
The European leadership was dismayed at the Israeli government’s Aug. 31 decision to expropriate some 1,000 acres of West Bank land between Jerusalem and the Etzion settlement bloc. The move is seen as a blow of strategic proportions to the prospects for a two-state solution, a quasi-annexation making the contiguity of a Palestinian state in the Jerusalem area impossible.