British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will both visit the Middle East region in February to pressure Israel and the Palestinians to move forward with the peace talks, Western diplomats have revealed.
The diplomatic sources said that US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the region next week to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as other Arab leaders. Merkel will visit the region after Kerry in early February, followed by Cameron. Both Western leaders are supporting Kerry’s efforts.
According to the sources, the top European officials’ visits are in line with the US policy to “internationalise pressure” on the Israelis and Palestinians in order to force them to move forward with the peace process.
The Western diplomats, including the Americans, intend to pressure the Palestinians by threatening to cut off financial and economic support if they continue to refuse the proposed framework agreement. At the same time, they plan to use the international boycott of Israel, and particularly the settlements, as a tool to pressure Tel Aviv, the sources added.
The European Union has threatened to cut off aid to both the Palestinians and Israelis if they do not make any progress on the peace talks. However, if the two sides do agree to sign the proposed peace agreement, they should expect raising their status to EU non-member states and thus enjoy a majority of the privileges afforded to all countries in the Union.