Sunday

19th Nov 2017

EU and US criticise Israel ahead of UN showdown

The EU, Russia, the US and the UN have spoken out against Israel's decision to create more houses for Jews on Palestinian land ahead of a UN vote on Palestine's future.

The so-called Quartet said in its statement on Tuesday (16 August) it "is greatly concerned by Israel's recent announcements to advance planning for new housing units in Ariel and East Jerusalem." It added "Jerusalem in particular is one of the core issues that must be resolved through negotiations" and noted the housing decisions come at "a critical juncture" in the peace process.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Ariel street signs. Ayalon said the EU should help get Palestinians "to climb down from the tree." (Photo: Ori~)

The statement follows Israel's approval of 277 new homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel and 1,600 housing units in occupied East Jerusalem.

Ariel is part of a pattern of construction cutting the West Bank into four cantons and making the creation of a future Palestinian state more difficult.

The Quartet statement marks an escalation in international pressure on Israel. EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton three days ago voiced "deep regret" about the Jerusalem move but was ignored.

Ashton has led recent Quartet attempts to restart peace talks in the hope of discouraging Palestinian authorities from trying to upgrade their UN status at an upcoming meeting of the UN General Assembly.

The assembly vote, in September, is set to expose a split among EU member states, with pro-Israeli countries such as the Czech republic, Germany and the Netherlands on one side and pro-Palestinian countries such as France, Spain and the UK on the other.

It also risks inflaming tensions in the region - Palestinian diplomats have warned of potential mass demonstrations in the occupied territories after the UN vote.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bosnia on Tuesday pledged to go ahead with the UN bid, saying: "The application will be submitted to [UN] Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ... There is no date. Any time during the UN session we can submit the application."

He indicated Palestine might seek to upgrade its UN status from "non-member entity" to that of "non-member state" rather than to a full member. The "non-member state" bid would not require approval by the UN Security Council, removing the threat of a US veto.

Palestinian diplomats have denounced the timing of the Israeli housing moves as "confrontational."

For his part, Israel's deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon, in Hungary on Tuesday urged the EU to come out on Israel's side.

"You, the Europeans, the great supporters of the Palestinian Authority, must show leadership and lead the Palestinians to the negotiation table, instead of being dragged behind maneuvers aimed at bypassing the negotiations," he said. "A public European position that opposes the unilateral move may allow the Palestinians to climb down from the tree."

Unesco vote highlights EU split on Palestine

Just five EU countries voted "No" on admitting Palestine to the UN heritage agency, Unesco, in an indication of loyalties on the big question of UN membership.

EU countries confront Israel on latest land-grab

The four EU countries on the United Nations Security Council have used unusually strong words to criticise Israel's latest expansion of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.

MEPs ponder how to fight tax havens

After the Paradise Papers brought new revelations about tax dodging across the globe, including in the EU, the European Parliament wonders how to step up the fight.

News in Brief

  1. Bonn climate talks extend into Friday evening
  2. UK needs to move on Brexit by early December, Tusk says
  3. Puigdemont extradition decision postponed to December
  4. Ireland wants written UK guarantees to avoid hard border
  5. US did not obstruct climate talks, says German minister
  6. EU signs social declaration
  7. Puigdemont to be heard by Belgian judges
  8. Steep fall in migrants reaching EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  2. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  4. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  5. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  6. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  9. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  10. World Vision20 November: Exchange of Views at the EP on Children Affected by the Syria Crisis
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  12. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy

Latest News

  1. EU keeps former Soviet states at arm's length
  2. EU leaders make pledge on social issues after populist backlash
  3. EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK
  4. Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal
  5. Mind the gap: inequality in our cities
  6. Climate activists 'disappointed' with EU at climate talks
  7. Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin
  8. German coalition talks in near collapse