Monday

16th Oct 2017

EU 'mumbles and grumbles' on Israeli settlements

  • Arab homes being demolished while Jewish settlements expand (Photo: Nasser Nawaj'ah)

EU “regret” on Israel’s new settlement surge will be seen as empty “mumbling and grumbling” in the Donald Trump era, diplomats say.

The EU foreign service on Tuesday (24 January) said it was “regrettable that Israel is proceeding with this policy, despite the continuous serious international concern and objections”.

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.

  • Settlement expansion could provoke violence, experts warned (Photo: Ted Eytan)

It added that settlement expansions “seriously undermine the prospects for a viable two-state solution” and were “illegal under international law”.

The EU spoke after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the green light to almost 3,100 new housing units for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which Israel won by conquest in 1967.

Over half a million settlers now live on Palestinian land, which is being sliced into isolated chunks as the Jewish towns and outposts spread.

Netanyahu’s announcement briefly deflected Israeli media attention from a corruption scandal that could see him pushed out of office.

It was also designed to please far-right elements in his Likud party and in the Jewish Home party in the ruling coalition, which wants to "annex" vast swathes of Palestinian land.

The 3,100 new homes, described by the Palestinian Authority as a “provocation”, were also greeted as a “disappointment” by the Yesha Council, a settler group, which had wanted a higher number.

Trump pro-Israel

The new wave of expansion comes after the election of Donald Trump in the US, a pro-Israeli hawk, who has said he might move the US embassy from Tel Aviv, Israel’s UN-recognised capital, to Jerusalem, which is claimed by both Israel and Palestine, and which the EU and UN say ought to be shared.

Netanyahu will meet Trump in Washington in early February if the Israeli leader survives the corruption affair.

But if the US, Israel’s main financial and security sponsor, gives it a free hand to keep snatching Palestinian land, then EU statements, like the one on Tuesday, will be seen by Israel as little more than “mumbling and grumbling”, a European diplomatic source told EUobserver.

The EU last year published new retail label guidelines designed to stigmatise settler products in European shops.

But EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini is not working on any further measures and has quashed calls by EU states’ ambassadors in Palestine to take a tougher line, diplomatic sources said.

Aalon Ben Meir, a scholar of Middle East affairs at New York University, told EUobserver that if Trump went ahead with the Jerusalem embassy idea, then the “EU should raise its voice loud and clear, as this will potentially create major turmoil throughout the Middle East [and] kill whatever is left of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process”.

He advised the EU to hold off on any potential “sanctions” on Israel until Trump clarified his intentions.

He added that the EU’s voice still “resonated to some extent” in Israel and that if it went further on settlement expansion, then Europe must “put Israel on notice that these activities … can potentially create a new wave of violence” in the region.

EU criticises Trump's Israel embassy idea

EU foreign relations chief Mogherini has warned that if Trump moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem it could have “serious consequences”.

EU in diplomatic push to save Iran deal

EU leaders mobilise to stop Trump's attack on Iran deal, as Congress prepares knife-edge vote with implications for trans-Atantic ties and Middle East stability.

Opinion

EU can still end Rohingya ethnic cleansing

If European leaders speak and act now, there's a chance ethnic cleansing could end before the last Burmese Rohingya is killed, captured, or exiled.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  3. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  4. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  5. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  6. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  7. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  8. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  10. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year
  11. ILGA-EuropeMass Detention of Azeri LGBTI People - the LGBTI Community Urgently Needs Your Support
  12. European Free AllianceCatalans Have Won the Right to Have an Independent State

Latest News

  1. Malta shocked after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  2. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  3. May pleads for more as EU makes Brexit gesture
  4. EU united in backing Iran deal, after Trump criticisms
  5. 'Think of the patients!' cry warring EMA-host cities
  6. In Iceland: Europe woos Arctic allies
  7. Austrian voters reject liberal pro-EU status quo
  8. Turkey urges EU not to break off ties