BONN (Jan. 6)
The European Community has added its voice to those condemning Israel for ordering 12 Palestinians deported from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
And it has implied that the Jewish state is therefore responsible for waylaying the next round of Middle East peace talks, which had been scheduled to resume Tuesday in Washington.
In a statement released simultaneously in several European capitals, the E.C. called on Israel not to endanger the peace process.
The statement was the E.C.’s first declaration on the Middle East since Portugal assumed the group’s rotating chairmanship Jan. 1.
Portugal, a country with traditionally strong ties to Arab countries, has not forged similar links with Israel, having sent its first ambassador there only five months ago, although an Israeli Embassy has been operating in Lisbon since 1976.
In another development between the E.C. and the Jewish state, the E.C. has given Israel a detailed list of projects in the administered territories which it intends to assist.
The E.C.’s $100 million aid program for the Palestinians was launched in November, but its implementation was delayed because of Israel’s request for information about the projects.
The E.C. apparently has agreed to inform Israel in advance on the programs it is funding in the territories. It is not yet known if Israel has objected to any of them.
The assistance program for the administered territories is part of an E.C. bid to play a more active role in Middle East peace efforts. An E.C. observer attended the Middle East peace conference that opened in Madrid on Oct. 30.