Diplomats have warned of the growing boycott of Israel and accused the European Union of creating an atmosphere which encourages and gives legitimacy to NGOs not to cooperate with the state. The Israeli officials made their comments at a meeting held at the European section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, within the framework of the ambassadors' annual conference.
According to Maariv, diplomats said that the EU policy of boycotting companies which work in illegal settlements may spread inside Israel in a year or so. They added that the EU generates an atmosphere that encourages a full boycott of Israel and portrays it as an unusual state.
The former ambassador of Israel to the European Union, Oded Eran, said that the EU is pretending to be innocent when saying that the boycott is targeting the settlements only, while it gives legitimacy to non-governmental institutions that refuse any kind of cooperation with Israel.
The newspaper quoted another official as saying that EU policies also encourage states all over the world to do the same. As such, it is expected that Israel will be facing political and economic difficulties that may appear initially in the occupied territories.
In a paper presented at the conference, Eran estimates that the prospects for Israel's relations with Europe depend on the political solution with the Palestinians. If Israel reaches a solution with the Palestinians, it could possibly claim partial membership in the European Union and be a partner in the decision-making process, particularly in the fields of agriculture, transportation, air transport, and technology.
The meeting also discussed the European threat of cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority in the event that it fails to reach an agreement with the Israelis. The diplomats believe that this will have an indirect effect on Israel since the collapse of the Palestinian Authority would lead to Israel having to run civil affairs within the Palestinian territories, which Israel refuses to accept, despite its obligation to do so as the occupying power.
The speakers pointed out that rejection of settlement construction in the West Bank now prevails across Europe with no exception. Even Germany, Israel's biggest friend in the EU, is no longer able to provide support in this respect.
Maariv added that the conference agreed that developing Israel's relationship with Europe may depend on the progress of the political process with the Palestinians, but stressed that Israel should not surrender to EU pressures regarding settlements.