Israeli officials cold-shouldered the new EU Middle East peace envoy, Sven Koopmans, during his first visit to Israel last week, rebuffing his attempts to meet with them, Axios reported.
According to the report, Foreign Ministry officials said that the reason for the boycott was the behavior of the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell during Operation Guardian of the Walls, saying that he failed to sufficiently condemn Hamas and support Israel. One official said that Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi had a “difficult” conversation by phone with Borrell during the 11-day conflict between Israel and Gaza-based terror groups.
When Koopmans informed Israel’s Foreign Ministry two weeks ago that he wanted to visit Jerusalem, the ministry told him that the timing wasn’t good and he should postpone his trip to a later date.
Koopmans made the visit anyway but all Israeli government officials turned down his requests for meetings except one Defense Ministry official.
Koopmans visited the city of Ashkelon and met families whose homes were damaged by rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. He then visited the Gaza Strip and Ramallah and met with Palestinian officials.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)