This is an interesting development for obvious reasons:
The European Union is expected to appoint an Italian-born diplomat as the group’s new chief envoy to the Middle East peace process, The Times of Israel has learned.
Fernando Gentilini, who previously served as the EU’s special representative in Kosovo, has never been directly involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but sources say the Europeans appointed him because he’s an expert on mediation and conflict resolution.
Gentilini’s appointment is to be announced by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, on Monday at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.
Sources in Jerusalem said Gentilini has no background in Middle East affairs and that, as of now, it is unclear what mandate he will receive. Therefore, the sources added, it is impossible to know what to expect from his appointment.
The EU’s special representative to Middle East peace process will act as the EU envoy to the Middle East Quartet.
As opposed to previous diplomats who filled that role, Gentilini is not a diplomat from a member state switching to the EU but has been working within the union’s External Action Service for over a decade.
Born in Rome in 1962, Gentilini become the EU foreign policy chief’s special envoy to Kosovo in 2004. Later he served as NATO senior civilian representative in Afghanistan. Currently, he is the director for Western Europe, Western Balkans and Turkey at the EU’s External Action Service.
Any reader of EU foreign policy statements will be familiar with four maxims: the EU doesn’t recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea; there’s no military solution to the Ukraine conflict; Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad must go; and the EU supports a two-state solution on Israel and Palestine.
All of them are false.
Mogherini might, from time to time, repeat that the EU supports a two-state solution on 1967 borders. “But we don’t hear anything from Merkel, Hollande, or Cameron”, Seidemann said, referring to the German, French, and British leaders, respectively. “We should be hearing loud criticism of the occupation from friends of Israel, or we’ll be powerless to stop it from sliding into abject isolation”.