Senior EU official subtly punishing Israel for Abu Akleh killing

EU’s head of foreign policy reportedly delaying critical meeting between Israeli and EU officials due to journalist’s slaying.

By World Israel News Staff

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s head of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has intentionally held up a critical meeting between the EU and Israel due to the shooting death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a European official revealed Monday.

The anonymous source told the Times of Israel that Borrell put the kibosh on an annual meeting between EU officials and their Israeli counterparts because of the slaying and a subsequent announcement that Israel had approved 4,000 new building projects for Jews in Judea and Samaria.

Borrell, who was initially resistant to advancing the meeting, dug in his heels after the shooting and announcement about expansion, saying that a meeting with Israel would create poor optics for the EU.

“There were two things that were unacceptable in terms of diplomacy — the killing of the journalist, and the announcement of 4,000 new settlements,” the official told TOI.

“Borrell told us, can you imagine I am going to put on the agenda a meeting of cooperation with the images on TV… come on,” they added.

Borrell’s spokesman and Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report.

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In June 2022, Borrell traveled to Iran, a move which was criticized by then-foreign minister Yair Lapid.

“Borrell sent a message to Yair Lapid before the trip to Tehran in which he described his attempt to bring Iran back to the nuclear agreement negotiations and to remove the last obstacles,” a diplomat familiar with the exchange told Politico.

“In response to the message, Lapid replied to Borrell that his position was very disappointing, especially after the removal of the cameras and the condemnation [by the] IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] board.”

According to the source, Lapid called the visit a “strategic mistake that sends the wrong message to Iran,” adding that “talking about the great potential in the Iranian context, while Iran is trying to murder Israeli citizens throughout the world and especially in Turkey, indicates a worrying lack of care for the lives of Israeli citizens.”