Elkin: Israel won't give in to EU pressure
Deputy FM visits Temple Mount, stresses path taken by European Union pushes Israel further apart from peace talks. Olmert opposes, says decision led by political stalemate, peace talks must resume immediately
by Moran Azulay
Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin on Wednesday declared that Israel will not succumb to European pressure after the European Union decided to exclude all Israeli bodies operating in east Jerusalem and the West Bank from agreements signed with Israel. "If the Europeans carry on this way they will have achieved the opposite result and pushed us away from peace talks," he said.
Elkin made the statements during a visit to the Temple Mount. "There is no connection between my visit to the Temple Mount which was coordinated in advance and the EU's decision," he said. "My visit is personal and is actually in memory of a friend who was killed three years ago and was one of the first to go the Temple Mount."
Elkin criticized the police for closing the site to Jews on Tisha B'Av. "It's a symbolic day and instead of authorizing the visit the police got scared. They were not equipped to protect us."
Commenting on the EU's ban of settlements, the deputy FM said that European pressure should not be directed at Israel, but the Palestinians. "We are ready to negotiate, we're not the problem, Abu Mazen is." Elkin added that the move undermines Kerry's efforts to restart peace talks and encourages the Palestinians to take the unilateral route.
"As a member of the Knesset's right wing and together with other MKs, I chose to support attempts to restart negotiations. We will not agree to unusual gestures." Elkin said that the Right will harden its positions if the EU continues to pressure Israel.