Massacre sours Europe-Israel ties
Relations between Israel and the 10 European Community countries are headed for a new low point, following last week's massacre of Palestinian civilians in west Beirut.Skip to next paragraph
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This became clear at the monthly meeting of EC foreign ministers here, Monitor contributor Gary Yerkey reports.
In their final communique, they expressed their ''profound shock and revulsion'' at the massacre, but were careful not to pin the blame directly on the Begin government - despite Greece's insistence.
But the ministers did unanimously pin indirect responsibility on the Israeli government during the discussions. Francis Pym, British foreign secretary, reportedly summed up the sentiment by repeating his views made known on BBC radio earlier:
''The Israelis,'' he said, ''went into west Beirut ostensibly to stop further loss of life. The fact is that they did let the Christian militiamen into the camps, and I think on that basis one could expect some horrifying results. So at the very best, you could say that it was an incompetent act, but I suspect there is more to it than that.''
No EC country is prepared to let the Beirut massacre sour its relations with Israel to the point of severing diplomatic relations or cutting trade. But there is little doubt the events have boosted Western Europe's determination to press for the creation of a Palestinian state and to rethink new trading links. The Community has repeatedly made clear the importance it attaches to Palestine Liberation Organization participation in peace talks.
At the meeting, the ministers also voiced strong support for President Reagan's Mideast peace plan. European diplomats said the plan was a significant shift, bringing policy in Washington and Western Europe much more closely into line.