The European Union\’s decision to restrict any Israeli entity beyond 1967 lines from EU funding and grants has revealed great difference of opinions within the State\’s political echelon.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) responded to the decision but also leveled criticism at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "This decision is another in a long line of decisions that isolate Israel. Time is not in out favor, and every day that Israel does not engage in peace talks is a day in which our international status sustains more damage."
"Nevertheless," Lapid added, "this is a miserable decision, which was made in very bad timing and thus sabotages the efforts that US Secretary of State John Kerry is putting into bringing the sides back to the negotiation table.
"This decision signals to the Palestinians that there is no economic or international price to be paid for their continued refusal to resume negotiation; it leads them to believe that Israel will succumb to international and economic pressure."
Lapid promised not to stop at words and take action, claiming that he intends to "appeal to our friends in the European Union and explain to them that their decision damages the very end they are attempting to achieve, as it pushes peace farther away instead of bringing it closer."
Political security net
Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich also responded to the EU\’s decision to ban agreements with Israel which include settlements, saying that "the increasing diplomatic isolation is causing harm to the country and the market, and poses a strategic threat no less severe than the one posed by the sophisticated weapons aimed at us.
"Nevertheless," Yachimovich added, "it is very unfortunate that instead of supporting and helping the Americans\’ efforts to resume negotiation, the European Union focuses on sanctions and bans."
Yachimovich, the opposition leader, also called on the prime minister to hold peace talks with the Palestinians as soon as possible, with the real intent of reaching a final agreement, "not for the sake of the Europeans, the Americans or the Palestinians, but for Israel.
"US Secretary of State Kerry\’s efforts are still ongoing; I beseech the government to make every effort to start negotiation." She vowed that the opposition "will grant (the government) a political security net," she said, hinting that despite their current location in the opposition, Labor would not allow the government to fall because of a peace agreement.
On the other hand, Defense Minister Moshe Ya\’alon said that the government will continue with its current policy in the West Bank.
"It is not new that many countries in the world refer to Judea and Samaria as occupied territory, and according to this they act. We have our policies and will continue to abide by and according to our interests," Ya’alon said.
Regarding reports of John Kerry\’s expected visit to Jordan Tuesday evening, Ya\’alon said: "I am more than aware of Kerry\’s efforts; he has been hard at work for some months now to bring us and the Palestinians to the negotiation table.
"At this point the Palestinians are refusing to talk until we fulfill certain preconditions. We have said so clearly – we are willing to return to negotiations immediately and without preconditions; we are willing to talk long and hard about everything – but at this point the Palestinians refuse, and hence (Kerry\’s) efforts have yet to bare fruit."