Tuesday

23rd May 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  2. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  4. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  5. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  7. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  8. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  9. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  10. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  11. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus

Latest News

  1. Fight club: Russian spies seek EU recruits
  2. An open letter to ministers on the audiovisual directive
  3. EU gives mandate for Barnier to take on Brexit
  4. EU wary over Ukrainian weapons in South Sudan
  5. Trump descends into 'hellhole' This WEEK
  6. Portugal held up as symbol of EU recovery
  7. Hungarians march against Orban crackdown
  8. Malta surprised by sudden interest in its tax regime