European plan to take leading role in Mideast worries Israel

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

With an incoming US president who intends to shift course on American foreign policy, an internal European Union document indicates that Europe plans to seize a leading role in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking from next year.

Much to the dismay of senior Israeli officials, the EU proposal obtained by Ha'aretz calls for heavy pressure on Israel to surrender control of the eastern half of Jerusalem and halt the growth of the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank").

Regarding Jerusalem, the "EU Action Strategy for Peace in the Middle East" demands that Israel immediately permit the Palestinian Authority to reopen Orient House, its de facto foreign ministry in the Israeli capital, as the cornerstone for a future agreement.

According to the terms of the original interim peace deal signed between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993, the newly created Palestinian Authority was barred from operating in Jerusalem in any official capacity.

Nevertheless, Israel allowed Orient House to operate for years before shutting the office down in 2001 in response to escalating Palestinian terrorism in the city.

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