The European Union should consider Israel’s treatment of its Arab population a “core issue, not second tier to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” according to a classified working paper produced by European embassies in Israel, parts of which were obtained by Haaretz.
This is an unprecedented document in that it deals with internal Israeli issues. According to European diplomats and senior Foreign Ministry officials, it was written and sent to EU headquarters in Brussels behind the back of the Israeli government.
Other issues the document deals with include the lack of progress in the peace process, the continued occupation of the territories, Israel’s definition of itself as Jewish and democratic, and the influence of the Israeli Arab population.
The original document also included suggestions for action the EU should take, but these were removed from the final version at the insistence of several countries.
Among these were the suggestion that the EU file an official protest every time a bill discriminating against Arabs passes a second reading in the Knesset, and that the EU ensure that all Arab towns have completed urban plans, “with each member state potentially ‘adopting’ a municipality to this end.”
VATICAN CITY (AFP) — Peace negotiations in the Middle East must tackle the issue of the status of the holy sites, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said Friday.
“There will not be peace if the question of the holy sites is not adequately resolved,” the Holy See’s former foreign minister said in response to a question on Jerusalem and the Israel-Palestinian problem at a Rome conference…
The Vatican says the answer is to have the global community regulate the sites — and it favours handing the task to a “large group” of states, rather than placing it in the hands of the United Nations Security Council or Europe.