Saturday

19th Oct 2019

Draft text: EU ministers 'worried' by Israeli actions in West Bank

  • EU Council meeting room. A diplomat said 'the text could change completely, or there might be no text at all' (Photo: consilium.europa.au)

A draft statement for EU foreign ministers next week says Israel's monopolisation of land and water in the occupied West Bank is "worrying" and endangers the two-state solution.

The text - provisionally agreed by mid-level EU diplomats on Monday (16 January) - says: "Against a backdrop of worrying developments in 2011, particularly with respect to settlements under Area C, the EU reaffirms its commitment to a two-state solution ... The viability of a two-state solution must not be jeopardised."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

It also says the EU "welcomes" Jordan's recent efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks and urges both sides "to build confidence and create an atmosphere of trust" for the negotiations.

Area C is a 62-percent chunk of the occupied West Bank designated by the Oslo accords in the 1990s as being under full Israeli control.

The reference by ministers to "worrying" developments is based on an internal report by EU heads of mission in Israel from 14 December, which blames it for using housing law to force native Palestinians off their most fertile land.

The report - seen by EUobserver - notes that in 1967 there were between 200,000 and 320,000 Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, most of which lies in Area C, but that just 56,000 live there today.

The Jewish population has grown from 1,200 to 310,000 over the same period.

It notes that Israeli farms use "most of the water resources in the area" to grow export crops. Meanwhile, Palestinians get access to just 25 percent of available water at higher prices, limiting them to "low intensity agriculture."

All 27 EU countries endorsed the internal report and one EU diplomat said the draft ministers' statement is likely to go through unchanged.

But another diplomat warned that pro-Israeli EU countries - such as the Netherlands and the Czech Republic - will try to make sure the ministers' public communique does not offend their ally.

"There are still two or three [ambassador-level] meetings this week before the EU ministers' meeting next week [23 January], so the text could change completely, or there might be no text at all if they can't agree," the contact said.

Opinion

Israel: Negotiations cannot be bypassed

There is an unbridgeable gap between a state with peace and a state without peace. The future of the relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians lies in that difference, writes Yacov Hadas-Handelsman, Israel's Ambassador to the EU.

Opinion

Europe awakens to Palestinian realities

With Ashton in Israel this week and with fresh EU reports on the realities of Israeli occupation, Europe should not squander its opportunity to build better relations with the rapidly changing Arab world.

EU envoy sheds light on weird US diplomacy

Remarks to Congress by the US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, have shed light on the unusual nature of American diplomacy under president Donald Trump.

Macron warned on danger of Balkans veto

France's veto on North Macedonia enlargement will endanger the Serbia-Kosovo peace process, a senior EU official has warned, but diplomats do not expect Macron to change his mind.

News in Brief

  1. Macron: Nato's inability to react to Turkey a 'mistake'
  2. EU: US can expect counter measures after tariff move
  3. Almost 7,500 people forcibly returned to Libya in 2019
  4. Puigdemont released after responding to arrest warrant
  5. Commission: Facebook's Libra needs international approach
  6. Italian PM: denial of accession talks a 'historic mistake'
  7. Catalan president blames clashes on 'infiltrators'
  8. US imposes €6.7bn new tariffs on European products

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us