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May 1, 2009

Israel warns EU to tone down its criticism
Article: Yahoo! News

…Netanyahu, who took office in March, has so far refused to endorse the idea of an independent Palestinian state — a cornerstone of the West’s policy in the region. He is expected to unveil his foreign policy before heading to Washington for talks with President Barack Obama in mid-May.

Reflecting the sensitivity surrounding Israel-EU relations, the 27-member bloc accepted an Israeli request to delay a high-profile summit to give Netanyahu more time, Palmor also said Thursday.

Instead, the EU-Israel Association Council, which is to be attended by Lieberman and his EU counterparts, will meet June 15 — a month later than the planned May summit.

The annual gathering is a forum to upgrade Israel’s trade and economic relations with Europe. Upgraded ties would give Israel better access to EU markets, closer cooperation in areas such as energy, environment and battling crime and terrorism, and more educational exchanges.

In June 2008, the EU said a “closer partnership with Israel” must happen in parallel to “the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the implementation of the two-state solution.”

The Palestinians have repeatedly urged Europe to freeze the upgrade.

An EU diplomat said the bloc is divided over whether the upgrade should be linked to progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing confidential policy information, the diplomat said there is a “complete standoff” in the EU on the issue, since any upgrade would require a unanimous decision….

If only Chancellor Obama would tell others to tone down criticism of the U.S. rather than joining in on the criticizing. Not likely. Obama is quite a dud.

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