Ashton: E.U. opposes Israel boycott

(JTA) — European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the E.U. opposes a boycott of Israeli companies and businesses.

During a meeting in Brussels Monday of the E.U.’s Foreign Affairs Council, Ashton also asserted that the E.U. would deepen economic ties with Israel and the Palestinians in several areas if they reach a peace agreement, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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She said the support for Israel and the Palestinians would come in the areas of “energy, water, environment…business to business contacts,” as well as “progressive market integration, trade and investment facilitation” and deeper ties in research projects and security cooperation, according to the newspaper.

The E.U. has said in the past that it could offer “unprecedented” support for the two sides in the wake of a peace deal. Ashton’s statements on Monday are the first hints of that support.

Ashton asserted that the E.U. opposes a boycott of Israel, adding “We don’t want to see Israel isolated.”

She said, however, that the E.U. remains opposed to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The E.U. calls settlements illegal and says they are an obstacle to a two-state solution.

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