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Israel counting on European friends to thwart EU sanctions

Israeli diplomats are engaging with European Union members considered more friendly to Israel in order to thwart attempts to punish Israel over annexation plans.
Flags of EU, Israel and Germany flutter next to the Bundestag ahead of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speech in Germany’s lower house of parliament to commemorate the victims of the Nazi dictatorship, January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi - RC2LPE9P7DWC

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem expressed satisfaction over the results of the May 15 meeting of European Union foreign ministers. In a statement released after this monthly meeting, the EU said, "Ministers expressed their willingness to work comprehensively and constructively with the new government [of Israel] once it is sworn in, but also reaffirmed their support for a negotiated two state solution.’’ The short statement did not refer directly to the issue of Israel’s annexation plans, nor did it refer specifically to any possible European sanctions.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell addressed these issues carefully in the video press conference that followed the ministerial statement, saying the EU must work to discourage any possible initiative toward annexation. Borrell warned, "As always, we are thinking what a geopolitical power as the European Union can do using its capacities, and that’s what we will do. … It does not mean that we are going to do that tomorrow, but we are permanently engaged on that, and we will do it as soon as possible.’’

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