Fed up with settlement expansion, officials in Brussels are working on punitive measures to be implemented as soon as the political leadership wants to do so
By Raphael Ahren—The Times of Israel
The European Union is inconspicuously but determinedly threatening to reevaluate bilateral ties with Israel if the Netanyahu government fails to make progress toward a two-state solution and continues its current policy of allowing construction beyond the pre-1967 lines.
The EU’s new policy has gone largely unnoticed due to this summer’s Operation Protective Edge, but EU officials are already busy at work on a set of sanctions against Israel that Brussels could enact whenever the union’s political echelon gives a green light. Indeed, some in the EU are currently considering implementing a mechanism that would immediately penalize Israel for every step deemed unhelpful to the peace process (such as settlement expansion), a senior European diplomat told The Times of Israel.
On July 22, in the middle of the 50-day war with Hamas, the 28 EU foreign ministers issued a joint statement that was widely seen as pro-Israel, as it condemned indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians and called for the disarmament of all terrorist organizations in Gaza. Even the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem praised the EU for the statement.