Photo Credit: Amio Cajander via Wikimedia
European Union flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels

Israel has dismissed threats issued by the European Union’s (EU) High Representative Josep Borrell over the launch of the US Deal of the Century peace plan, calling the threats “regrettable and, to say the least, odd.”

Borrell stated Tuesday that the US’ Deal of the Century “departs from these internationally agreed parameters,” and that the EU is “especially concerned” by Israel’s statements on the prospect of the annexation of the Jordan Valley and other parts of Judea and Samaria. Steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged,” he threatened.

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Responding to the harsh statement, Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat said the fact that Borrell “chose to use threatening language towards Israel, so shortly after he assumed office and only hours after his meetings in Iran is regrettable and to say the least, odd.”

Borrell was in Iran to try and salvage the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers. The US pulled out of the deal once it became clear that Iran was repeatedly violating the terms of the agreement.

Haiat further noted, “Pursuing such policies and conduct is the best way to ensure that the EU’s role in any process will be minimized,” countering Borrell’s statement that the EU sought to facilitate a diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The EU’s harsh statement, which completely rejected the Trump Middle East Peace Plan, runs counter to several announcements issued by European and Arab leaders lending cautious support to the initiative.

Israel’s Kann public broadcasting network news correspondent Amichai Stein reported that several of the 27 nations comprising the European Union officially opposed Borrell’s punitive language.

This means the EU states have not adopted the declaration as official EU policy.

Stein further said that the reason for the opposition by some states was their objection to the threats against Israel and the harsh language, and some objected because they did not want to confront the US and the Trump administration.

Wall Street Journal correspondent Laurence Norman, who is reporting from Brussels, corroborated Stein’s report and added that the EU is working on another draft statement, and quoted sources who said that there is discord over the timing of the statement as well as its content.

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