Friday

21st Sep 2018

EU 'hopes' new settler homes will not stop peace talks

  • Jerusalem: Palestinians say the housing move is 'extremely dangerous' for peace (Photo: Hadar)

The EU has refrained from criticism of Israel's announcement of new settler homes on the eve of peace talks.

A spokesman for the bloc's foreign service, Michael Mann, told EUobserver on Sunday (11 August): "We hope and expect that the 14 August talks will go ahead. We call on both sides to make every effort to make them a success."

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

His statement comes after the Israeli minister for housing, Uri Ariel, earlier the same morning invited private firms to tender for the construction of 1,200 new Jewish homes in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

He told press at a cornerstone-laying ceremony at one settlement that "this is only the beginning" and that "more than 10,000" other settler homes are waiting to be built.

The news came three days before Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are to resume peace talks in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Israel also on Sunday named 26 Palestinian prisoners who are to be released as a gesture of good will.

But the last peace talks fell apart in 2010 over the issue of Israeli settlement building.

"Israel is deliberately sending a message to the US, to the rest of the world, that regardless of any attempt at launching negotiations: 'We are going to press ahead with stealing more land'," Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, told the BBC.

Some members of Israel's ruling coalition also criticised Uriel.

Finance minister Yair Lapid called his decision a "big mistake." Environment minister Amir Peretz described it as an "unnecessary provocation."

For his part, Yoel Mester, the Israeli foreign ministry's spokesman in Brussels, said it is being "blown out of proportion" and used for "spin" by the Palestinian side.

"This is a Palestinian attempt to improve their negotiating position ahead of Wednesday's talks," he told EUobserver.

In a related development, the EU recently published new guidelines on funding for Israel.

They say no EU grants will be paid to Israeli entities which are established on Palestinian land and oblige Israeli authorities to sign agreements recognising the limits of Israeli territory.

Israeli President Shimon Peres at a meeting with German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle in Jerusalem on Sunday urged Brussels to "freeze" the initiative.

Tzipi Livni, Israel's chief negotiator in the peace talks, told press: “The future borders between Israel and Palestine will be decided through negotiations and not by EU guidelines."

Westerwelle said little on the subject.

Brussels in a previous statement on 19 July said it hopes Israel will not boycott EU research programmes, such as the Horizon 2020 scheme, as a result of the development.

It also hinted it is willing to cut the territorial limits clause from its text.

"She [EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton] offered to continue technical discussions on the implementation of these guidelines," the statement said.

EU wants continental free-trade deal with Africa

Earlier this week, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in his state of the union announced a new relationship with Africa. On Friday, his subordinates outlined the vision, promising jobs and growth by leveraging public funds for investments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us