PARIS (Sep. 12)
Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy will try to repair Israel’s tattered relations with the 12-nation European Community when he meets on Monday with E.C. foreign ministers in Brussels.
His goal is to convince the E.C. Council of Ministers to abandon the threat of economic sanctions against Israel for alleged human rights violations in the administered territories, Israeli sources in Belgium have indicated.
Levy also hopes to persuade the E.C. to drop the idea of sending a special representative to Jerusalem to monitor conditions in the territories.
Both measures, which Israel considers harsh and punitive, stem from a resolution adopted on June 14 by the Parliament of Europe, the E.C.’s legislative body in Strasbourg, which condemned Israel for the “bloody repression of Palestinian civilians” in the territories and called for economic sanctions.
The resolution must be ratified by the Council of Ministers to become effective.
Levy lobbied against it at his meeting in Jerusalem last month with the three E.C. foreign ministers in charge of Middle East policy.
The so-called “troika” consists of Italian Foreign Minister Gianni de Michelis, current chairman of the Council of Ministers; Foreign Minister Gerard Collins of Ireland, the immediate past chairman; and Jacques Poos, the foreign minister of Luxembourg, who will assume the rotating chairmanship on Jan.1.
CHANGE ON ENVOY UNLIKELY
While Levy may be able to avert economic sanctions in light of the current Persian Gulf crisis, E.C. sources said “it is highly unlikely” that the 12 ministers will relent on the idea of an E.C. representative of ambassadorial status in Jerusalem.
The E.C. supported such a move in principle in June, two weeks after the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution to send U.N. observers to the administered territories.
The E.C. has a diplomatic delegation in Tel Aviv, headed by Gwyn Morgan, who has ambassadorial rank. The Israelis insist it is sufficient to fulfill all E.C. obligations and that there is no need for additional representation.
The E.C., however, maintains that a separate representative is needed, if only to demonstrate that the E.C. does not recognize the territories as part of Israel.
The Israeli visit to Brussels originally was planned for last March. It was to have been undertaken by Moshe Arens, who was foreign minister at the time, but was postponed because of the collapse of the Likud-Labor coalition government on March 15.
It will be Levy’s first trip to Europe since he was appointed foreign minister in the new Likud-led coalition.
Of Moroccan origin, he speaks fluent French and is said by his aides to “feel very much at case with European diplomats and officials.”
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