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EU Chief Borrell's call for European Council meeting with FM Katz is anti-Israel diplomatic move, says Israeli official

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borell attends a signing ceremony of the EU-Chile Advanced Framework Agreement and Interim Trade Agreement, in Brussels, Belgium December 13, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool)

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell announced on Wednesday that he has invited Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz to attend the European Union Association Council, which is responsible for managing bilateral diplomatic relations between the EU and Israel.

Borrell's invitation comes after Belgium, Ireland and Spain threatened Israel with various sanctions if it did not end its military operation against Hamas terrorists in the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

Borrell has consistently been a vocal critic of the Jewish state amid Israel's ongoing war against the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza and Israeli officials reportedly believe Borrell is planning to use the forum as a diplomatic vehicle for pushing his agenda against Israel.

"This is a delusional move by Borrell, who leads the anti-Israel line in the European Union. This move will backfire on him, and will not pass," an unnamed Israeli official stated.

In a letter sent to Borrell and the European Commission President of the Ursula von der Leyen, Spanish President Pedro Sánchez and former Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar urged the EU to review whether Israel is meeting its obligations concerning human rights amid the war in Gaza.

"We are very concerned about the deterioration of the situation in Israel and Gaza, especially the impact the ongoing conflict is having on innocent Palestinians, especially children and women. Israel's expanded military operation in the Rafah area constitutes a serious and immediate threat that the international community must urgently address," the Spanish and Irish leaders wrote.

While Borrell and his European allies may seek to impose potential sanctions on Israel if it does not follow orders from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), such a move would require a consensus of all 27 EU member states. Israeli officials are allegedly hoping its European friends, including Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic, will oppose the anti-Israel agenda.

Borrell reportedly wants the EU Council meeting with Katz to take place in June, when Belgium is heading the council. Belgium has emerged as one of Israel’s strongest critics in Europe, however, Israel is likely to postpone the high-level meeting to July, when Hungary, a far more friendly nation towards Israel, takes over the rotating presidency of the council.

Katz has reportedly already instructed Israeli embassies across Europe to prepare their respective diplomatic responses to potential anti-Israel policies.

The UN chief's policies have notably caused tensions within European Jewry. Over 100 heads of European Jewish communities and pro-Israel organizations gathered in Amsterdam, Holland, recently to protest "the clear and repeated anti-Israel bias of the European Union's foreign minister, Josep Borrell, which has been a significant contributor to the current waves of antisemitism and the slander against the State of Israel among the European public."

In late May, Spain, Ireland and Norway unilaterally recognized “Palestine” as an independent state, leading to further deterioration of their respective ties with Israel. These countries officially claim that their unilateral recognition will advance the two-state solution to the conflict. However, Israel has argued that it constitutes a major reward for Hamas and anti-Israel terrorism.

Spain’s Second Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz recently embraced the anti-Israel slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” widely used among extremists who call for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned Díaz by equating her with Hamas terrorist leaders who call for Israel's destruction.

“Khamenei, Sinwar and the Vice Premier of Spain Yolanda Díaz call for the disappearance of the State of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian Islamic terrorist state from the river to the sea,” Katz wrote on 𝕏.

“President Sánchez, by not firing Díaz and announcing the recognition of the Palestinian State, is complicit in inciting the murder of the Jewish people and war crimes,” Israel’s top diplomat added.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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