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Former Ambassador Casts Doubts on EU Role in Region


May 14, 2010

Haaretz

The European Union is too unreliable to play a more prominent role in the Middle East peace process, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Itamar Rabinovich said on Monday. He was speaking at a Tel Aviv University event before 15 European ambassadors to Israel.

"While the European Union wants to increase its role, it may be unwilling to follow through with armed intervention - which may be necessary in our environment," Rabinovich said at the inauguration of the university's Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.

Rabinovich - who headed Yitchak Rabin's team of negotiators with Syria - noted ethnic cleansing in the Balkans during the 1990s. "Europe made resolutions that the Holocaust must never be repeated, but it was. It took the American cavalry [to stop it] because European societies are hesitant to send soldiers to be killed."

This leads Israeli leaders, according to Rabinovich, to "wonder whether the EU will show up in the moment of truth, or whether it will be a voice in the distance." At the same time, Israeli politicians and scholars are "too U.S.-oriented and this needs to change," Rabinovich concluded.

Professor Dina Porat, who will head the center and who chaired the discussion, invited the European ambassadors in attendance - including Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo who is president of the European Union in Israel - to respond, but none did.

David Kriss, press and information manager of the delegation of the European Union to Israel, also declined to comment on Rabinovich's assertions when queried by Anglo File.


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