Czech ambassador slammed for visit to West Bank university


(JTA) — A Palestinian official accused the Czech Republic of violating European Union directives after its ambassador to Israel visited an Israeli university in the West Bank.

The visit last week by Tomas Pojar to the University of Ariel, located in the largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank, was a first for an EU ambassador, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The visit “undermines the recent efforts made by the European Union to support the peace process and the two-state solution,” Saeb Erekat, a top Palestinian negotiator, said in a statement Wednesday.

Last year, the union’s European Commission adopted regulations prohibiting EU cooperation with institutions beyond Israel’s 1967 borders. The European Union regards Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal.

On Thursday, Radio Chine Internationale reported that the Palestinian Authority intended to file an official complaint over Pojar’s visit with Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chef.

Pojar told the Czech CTK news agency that during his Jan. 9 visit to Ariel, he presented the EU’s positions on settlements. He said his country has no relationship with Ariel University.

The Czech Republic is considered one of Israel’s staunchest allies in Eastern Europe and was the only EU country that voted against the 2012 upgrading of the status of the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations.

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