Friday

12th Aug 2022

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

Opinion

Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy

The Belgian parliament's recent decision to ratify its prisoner-exchange treaty with Iran is a grave mistake, and one which exemplifies the many downfalls of dealing with Iran's human-rights abuses on a case-by-case basis.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts new season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us