European Friends of Israel press release (written by Dimitri Dombret):
"EFI is particularly concerned by the European Parliament’s decision taken yesterday during the plenary session in Brussels to postpone the vote on Israel’s participation in the EU’s Community Programmes by 194 in favor to 173 against. Israel’s Participation in Community Programmes is meant to create trust, facilitate mutual understanding and encourage collaboration between Israel and the EU at the "People to People" level. By going against the position of both the Commission and the Council, the European Parliament has sent an unprecedented message to Israel that it does not consider it a partner. EFI is convinced that the EU has to continue on the path of peace promotion through dialogue. It is only by inclusion and not by exclusion of our democratic partners that true and mutual understandings can be achieved.
Ioannis Kasoulides, MEP (EPP-ED), asked "We do not have this political conditionality on issues of bilateral relations within ENP policies. In the case of Morocco for instance, we have never mentioned Western Sahara or human rights. Also in the case of Egypt or any country in the Mediterranean. I do not understand why this time we have chosen this political linkage."
Charles Tannock, MEP (EPP-ED), stated "Israel and the EU share the common values which not all partners of the EU can demonstrate".
Elmar Brok, MEP (EPP-ED), Foreign policy coordinator of the European People Party, stated that the reason that was given for postponing the vote, the situation in the Gaza-strip, means supporting the illegal Hamas regime, which is decisively responsible for the situation in Gaza and the shelling of Israel."