21st Mar 2018

Israeli FM: Ashton 'lacks grasp of reality'

  • Construction is creating a Jewish ring around the old part of the city, which is holy for both Muslims and Jews (Photo: Brian Negin)

Israel has told the EU to fix its crisis instead of interfering in settlement expansion.

Its foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, made the comments in a statement on Saturday (20 October) in reaction to a previous EU communique.

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.

He said: "The EU should focus on the problems that are surfacing between different nations on European soil. After these issues are successfully resolved, we will gladly hear any suggestions regarding a solution to the problems with the Palestinians."

He added: "These automatic [EU] condemnations indicate a lack of a basic understanding of the reality in the region ... [Gilo] is an inseparable part of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is an inseparable part of Israel."

The EU foreign service on Friday criticised Israel's decision to build 797 new housing units in the Jewish-only Gilo settlement, in Palestinian-owned but Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

Construction is creating a Jewish ring around the old part of the city, which is holy for both Muslims and Jews.

"Together these developments continue the process of separating East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory," EU foreign service chief Catherine Ashton said.

The EU routinely criticises settlements but never follows up with sanctions, as suggested by its own ambassadors on the ground.

It is currently drafting a voluntary code of conduct for labels on settlement-made exports to help EU consumers boycott the goods, however.

Meanwhile, also on Saturday, Israeli navy boarded and seized the Estelle, a Finnish-flagged ship which set sail for Gaza from Naples on 7 October carrying about 20 people in protest at Israel's military blockade of Palestinian-controlled Gaza.

The EU has in the past also called for Israel to relax the blockade.

But Ashton has discouraged Estelle-type adventures, which saw Israeli commandos shoot dead nine people on board a Gaza-bound flotilla back in 2009.

MEPs split on EU-Israel trade deal

MEPs have set the scene for an ill-tempered debate on Israeli settlements after a committee endorsed removing trade barriers for Israeli medical products.


Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

News in Brief

  1. EU to have 'immediate' trade talks with Trump
  2. Separatist activist renounces Catalonia leadership candidacy
  3. EU puts conditions on Bayer-Monsanto merger
  4. Hard Brexit would hit poorer Irish households hardest
  5. Finland hosts secretive North Korean talks
  6. EU to unveil 3% tax on digital giants
  7. German elected S&D leader in European Parliament
  8. Germany: nearly €350m child benefit goes abroad

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  2. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  3. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  4. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  5. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  6. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions
  7. EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints
  8. Five east European states prevent new CAP consensus