Following council meeting, EU lauds Israel cooperation amid extensive criticism

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Former prime minister Yair Lapid takes part in a meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council via video from Jerusalem, on October 3, 2022. (EU)
Former prime minister Yair Lapid takes part in a meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council via video from Jerusalem, on October 3, 2022. (EU)

The European Union releases its full, 16 -page statement laying out its position for the EU-Israel Association Council meeting in Brussels.

While lauding cooperation between the EU and Israel on COVID-19, energy, Mediterranean security, cyber, trade and more — much of the document criticizes Israel for its policies toward the Palestinians. Some 21 of the 54 paragraphs deal with the Palestinians, use of force, and the peace process.

The EU expresses concern over journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s death, the loss of life in the recent round of fighting in August, conditions in Gaza, the religious status quo in Jerusalem and the settlements, among other related issues.

The statement does condemn “indiscriminate launching of rockets by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups,” while affirming Israel’s right to self-defense and calling for the release of Israelis held in Gaza.

The EU calls Iran “central to security in the region,” while saying that its support for armed proxies is a significant source of instability. “The restoration and full re-implementation of the JCPOA has the potential to contribute positively to regional prosperity and security,” the documents continues. “It could further encourage a constructive approach in the region as well as offer a platform for further efforts to build and consolidate confidence.”

On Ukraine, the EU “welcomes Israel’s assistance to Ukraine and its citizens, including the supply of defensive military equipment and humanitarian aid.” It also lauds Israel for working to ensure that it can’t be used to circumvent sanctions.

The EU discusses at length its commitment to fighting antisemitism, and the “increasing importance of Holocaust remembrance and civic education in order to counter the development of antisemitic prejudices and stereotypes.”

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