Both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks risk paying a high price in losing European Union trade and aid if negotiations collapse, the EU ambassador to Israel said on Wednesday.Oh no, it's only one side that'll pay.
For long seen as a "payer, not a player" in the region, the European Union has started making clear that its role as Israel's biggest trade partner and the Palestinians' largest donor should not be taken for granted.If they want to shun Israel, fine, they don't have to have anything to do with us.
"We have made it clear to the parties that there will be a price to pay if these negotiations falter," ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen told reporters.
The EU has grown especially frustrated by a number of Israeli announcements since the talks were renewed in July of new construction across the Green Line.If those banks don't want to do business with us, that's their loss. I would advise anyone more in the know with ties to those banks to divest from them to send bad Europeans a message.
"If Israel were to go down the road of continued settlement expansion and were there not to be any result in the current talks, I am afraid that what will transpire is a situation where Israel finds itself increasingly isolated," Faaborg-Andersen said.
A major private Dutch pension fund announced earlier this month that it was divesting from five large Israeli banks because of their operations in the settlements, and Norwegian and Swedish funds are considering similar moves.
While EU states are not advising firms to cut investments in Israel, officials say companies might act unilaterally to avoid any backlash from clients increasingly disenchanted with Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria.
Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) on Monday made light of the possibility of a boycott on Israel and has suggested that the government should look to bolster ties with emerging markets to offset problems with Europe.
Update: more on the subject at Commentary.