Luxembourg FM offers veiled threats against Israel over annexation

Jean Asselborn has pushed the possibility of EU sanctions against Israel if the annexation plan moves forward.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

In an interview with Israel Hayom on Wednesday, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, who is the longest-serving European Union Minister of Foreign Affairs, spoke out against the annexation of Judea and Samaria.

In the UN’s Foreign Affairs Council, Asselborn has consistently taken a hard-line stance against Israeli annexation, and has pushed the EU to investigate sanctions against Israel if the annexation plan moves forward.

So far, Israel’s EU allies Austria and Hungary have blocked Asselborn’s proposals from being accepted.

In his interview with Israel Hayom, Asselborn, a longtime champion of Palestinian rights, echoed the diplomatic policy adopted by Brussels.

While avoiding direct threats, he still conveyed that Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria would hurt the Jewish state’s relationship with Europe, its main trading partner today.

Of the deal of the century plan, Asselborn told Israel Hayom, “I’m not interested in commenting on the details of the plan presented by Mr. Trump. I should mention only two things. First, this program is moving away from recognized international parameters.”

“Secondly, the Palestinian Authority was not consulted when formulating this plan. It is not possible to make a decision on the future of a people without them being represented at the negotiating table.”

Asselborn spoke out about his concerns regarding annexation, saying, “Firstly, I fear that annexation will be a fatal blow to the two-state solution. It could lead to the formation of one state, which will constitute an eternal extension of inequality of rights and conflict.”

“Secondly, I am in principle opposed to annexation, anywhere in the world, since this is a blatant violation of international law. In 2014, I objected to the illegal annexation of the Crimea by Russia. The annexation will contribute to the dismantling of the world order, based on a set of laws we built after World War II.”

When asked about possible EU consequences for annexation, like sanctions, Asselborn was less direct.

“It’s too early to talk about sanctions,” Asselborn said. “We hope there will be no annexation and we work with our full diplomatic vigor to avoid annexation of occupied Palestinian territories. We are betting on prevention.”

Although Asselborn has repeatedly emphasized that he’s a defender of Palestinian rights, he told Israel Hayom, “I am a friend of both the Palestinians and of Israel, and I believe that friends should say things clearly.”

“In this spirit, I regularly use the exchange of views with PA representatives to encourage them to organize elections so that the process of intra-Palestinian reconciliation can continue.”

A recent report by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs revealed that European Union donations to Palestinian aid organizations may be funding terrorism.

The terror cell that planned and executed Rina Shnerb’s murder was headed by a longtime employee of an EU-funded Palestinian human rights organization.

When asked about the scandal, Asselborn’s response was brief. “The EU does not support terrorist-related organizations,” he said.

Asselborn expressed optimism about beginning work with the new Israeli government, inaugurated this Sunday.

“Israel is an important member and partner of the EU as a whole and of Luxembourg in particular,” said Asselborn. “I would love to contact my new Israeli colleague, Gabi Ashkenazi, as soon as possible.”