Israel rebuffed by Europe


The European Parliament postponed a decision this week about whether to upgrade its ties with Israel, ostensibly because of Israel’s recent actions on the West Bank. While Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was in Brussels urging European nations to change their "outdated" perception of the Jewish state, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad warned the E.U. against boosting ties, citing the lack of progress in the Middle East peace process. A top German member of the European Parliament criticized the postponement.

Livni also urged E.U. parliamentarians to support U.S.-backed peace talks with the Palestinians rather than promote separate initiatives. Israeli officials are deeply concerned over an internal European Union document outlining the E.U.’s plans for advancing an Israeli-Palestinian deal in 2009, Ha’aretz reports. The document, written by the French, calls for increased pressure on Israel to reopen Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem, including Orient House, which formerly served as the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in the city.

But while the European Parliament delayed any action, NATO and Israel agreed this week to boost cooperation in the fight against terrorism and to increase military ties.

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