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Israeli ministry slams EU for 'double standard,' PA for incitement

Jan. 19, 2016 5:00 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 20, 2016 12:03 P.M.)
An Israeli settler raises an Israeli flag at the E1 settlement area on Dec, 9, 2007, near the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank. (AFP/Uriel Sinai, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday slammed the EU Council's most recent conclusions on the Middle East peace process, released on Monday, as being biased against Israel by ignoring the Palestinian Authority's "responsibility" for the current political situation on the ground.

In a press release, the Israeli ministry said "the EU continues to apply a double standard in relation to Israel, ignoring the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility for the diplomatic stalemate and the incitement feeding the current wave of Palestinian terrorism."

The EU's statement was praised by PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi, who said the PLO felt "encouraged" by the EU's statements.

Ashrawi specifically applauded the EU's assertion that any EU agreements with Israel will not be applicable to areas occupied by Israel since 1967, including Israeli settlements in occupied West Bank.

Most of the EU Council's 11 conclusions focused on highlighting established EU policies towards the conflict. However, the council did emphasis the importance of "upholding the status quo" at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, an issue that in October helped spark the current wave of unrest in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.

The council also asked that "all parties to refrain from any action that would worsen the situation by way of incitement or provocation" and called on all parties "to condemn attacks when they occur."

Specifically, the council encouraged Israel to continue to make progress on the Duma investigation, referring to an arson attack in July in which Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian home, burning an 18-month-old baby alive, killing the child's mother and father, and severely injuring the couple's 4-year-old son.

The council did not make mention of any specific Palestinian attacks on Israelis that have occurred during the past three months.

Israel's foreign ministry accused the EU of "discriminat(ing) against Israel," and said that the EU's current approach "prevents the EU from being an honest broker in the conflict."

Ashrawi, who mostly praised the EU's statements, did criticize the body for "allocating equal blame," which Ashrawi said "fails to take into account the power asymmetry between the belligerent occupier and a vulnerable side under occupation whose rights are being willfully violated."

While both Palestinian and Israeli leadership have accused each other of inciting and encouraging the current wave of upheaval, the EU praised "both sides for upholding security coordination in the light of an extremely challenging situation."

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