The EU Ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg Andersen, revealed on Wednesday that the EU does not understand what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu means when he asks the Palestinians to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.
Andersen told journalists in Jerusalem during a news brief on the issue: “I do not think we have any clear position on this because we are not 100 per cent sure what is meant by this concept of a Jewish state.”
He added that if this means, as Prime Minister Netanyahu said the other day according to the press, “a state in which Jews and Arabs and Druze are living together [with equal rights], I think this is Israel as we know [it] now”.
The senior EU official in Israel continued: “So if you are asking why we are not supporting [this demand], it is mostly because… it is not really clear what is meant.”
When Andersen was asked by a reporter why the EU did not have a formal position regarding this issue, he replied: “All I can say is that this is for the parties to discuss. And I am not a party to these talks,” referring to the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.
In a statement after the briefing, Andersen clarified that: “The EU has not pronounced a position on the question of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, among other reasons, because we are not sure about the implications of this on other final status issues.”
He continued: “Therefore, we think that this is an issue to be discussed between the parties.”
Recognising Israel as a Jewish state has become a key demand of Netanyahu. He has implored the Palestinians to do it, telling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to “just say it”.
Israeli officials close to Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Wednesday morning that Peres does not agree with Netanyahu on this demand, believing it to be “unnecessary”.