Tension Grows with EU, US over Settlements

20 Jan
8:12 AM

Both the EU and United States are becoming increasingly public in criticism of Israel’s settlement policies.The European Union finalised its resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Israeli settlements Monday, confirming that the EU considers Israel’s borders to be on the 1967 Green Line, and that any agreement made between Israel and member countries would accordingly not apply to settlements.

‘The EU expresses its commitment to ensure that – in line with international law – all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967,’ the resolution reads.

Israeli minister of foreign affairs and prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, worked on a last minute push ahead of Monday’s meeting of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, to halt the first draft of the resolution, which would have broadened the distinction between Israel and the territories, and applied it to bilateral agreements between Israel and each of the 28 member states.

‘Our intense diplomatic work prevented wording applying to each member state,’ said an Israeli official.

The EU has held for many years that a final agreement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be based on a two-state solution, and that Israeli settlements are illegal and undermine peace efforts.

Relations have been strained between Israel and the EU after Netanyahu declared last year, during the Israeli national elections campaign, that the Oslo agreements are finished. While the prime minister later retracted this statement, it didn’t manage to improve relations with the EU.

Employing a similar tone, American ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro criticized Israel’s settlements policies during a speech he gave Monday at an Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv.

Ambassador Shapiro said that the US is concerned by ongoing building in the settlements and also criticised the Israeli authorities’ lack of investigation into Jewish terrorism in the West Bank.

‘Too much vigilantism goes unchecked,’ the ambassador said, stressing that ‘at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law [in the West Bank]: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.’

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IMEMC Agencies

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