More than 100 members of national parliaments across Europe, Israel’s Knesset and of the European Parliament have called on EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell to kickstart the EU-Israel Association Council.
In a joint letter sent on Tuesday, the parliamentarians asked for the renewal of ministerial-level dialogue with Israel, which has not been held 2012, in protest over Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and the lack of progress in the peace process.
They stressed that the dialogue could “promote a high degree of mutual confidence,” not only on matters of shared interest, but also on the differences between EU and Israel.
“Renewed dialogue and consultation between the EU and Israel is necessary because of new challenges, such as the coronavirus pandemic, the ongoing dangerous tensions in the Middle East, and the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe,” the letter reads.
The initiative was led by Antonio López-Istúriz White, Spanish member of the EU parliament’s European People’s Party and chair of the EP Delegation for relations with Israel. Among the Israeli signatories was also Yair Lapid, the leader of the opposition party and Zvi Hauser, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman.
The call for dialogue came in light of the formation of a coalition government in Israel and ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Association Agreement between the two sides, in July.
“It is high time that Europe reinvigorates this critical forum with Israel to discuss urgent security and economic interests in the face of growing international uncertainty,” the European Leadership Network (ELNET), which advocates for closer relations between Israel and Europe, said in a statement.