Abbas Agitating for EU Ban on Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -

With indications that the EU and Israel were making progress in negotiations over the EU ban on businesses over the Green Line, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is planning a trip to Europe to lobby for implementation of the sanctions, The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.

Abbas’s trip will also conflict with United States policy urging the EU to delay the sanctions so as not to disrupt the fragile peace talks.

Abbas is expected to visit Germany, Italy and Belgium, a Palestinian official in Ramallah said.

“The EU directive regarding the settlements will be at the top of the agenda of Abbas’s talks,” the official said. “The Palestinians attach huge importance to this decision because it creates international pressure on Israel to stop construction.”

Israel has argued that imposition of a ban on economic cooperation beyond the Green Line in effect unilaterally sets a border outside the context of negotiations.

“Everyone who is serious about the peace process knows that there will be changes to the 1967 lines. By doing this, the EU will only encourage a maximalist position,” an Israeli official said.

The official criticized Abbas for declaring on Thursday that Palestinians who purchased products produced in Jewish communities in Yehudah and Shomron were traitors. He also noted that Abbas was quick to speak out against the Jewish presence in the region but hesitant to condemn Palestinians who killed Jews.

The EU’s clarified restrictions are scheduled to go into effect on January 1.