Saturday

21st May 2022

EU speaks out against Israeli settler spike

  • Latest settlements would further isolate East Jerusalem from the West Bank (Photo: Mohammad Usaid Abbasi)

Europe has underlined its opposition to new Israeli settlements that would cut off Palestinian communities.

France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, and the EU foreign service all criticised the plans, announced by Israel on Friday (21 February), to build 5,200 more housing units in the Har Homa and Givat Hamatos settlements.

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

The move would isolate Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem from Palestinians in the rest of the West Bank.

And it would "undermine the possibility of a coherent and viable Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-state solution", Germany said.

"Colonisation is illegal in all its forms under international law," France added in a separate statement.

The Israeli plans were "a serious obstacle" to lasting peace, Italy said.

They would be "a significant step" against a future Palestinian state, Ireland added.

And "such steps would be deeply detrimental to a two-state-solution," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

Germany also cited a UN Security Council resolution from 2016, which called Israeli settlements a "flagrant violation" of international law.

The EU has complained about Israeli settlers for years, 630,000 of whom have moved to the West Bank since Israel conquered it in 1967.

But Europe's latest alarm call came after the US gave Israel the green light to annex parts of the West Bank and went against the UNSC on settlement legality.

EU foreign ministers will discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict at their next meeting on 23 March, when they are likely to restate their old position.

France and Ireland also took part in a recent meeting, hosted by Luxembourg, to discuss EU options if Israel went ahead with annexation, including the option of EU recognition of Palestine.

And for his part, Pope Francis also urged Israel and the US to reconsider.

"The Mediterranean region is currently threatened by outbreaks of instability and conflict, both in the Middle East and different countries of north Africa, as well as between various ethnic, religious, or confessional groups," he said at a Roman Catholic bishops' meeting in Bari, Italy, on Sunday, according to the Reuters news agency.

"Nor can we overlook the still unresolved conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, with the danger of inequitable solutions and, hence, a prelude to new crises," he said.

EU confused on Israel, as annexation looms

"You can divide a municipality, but you can't divide a mayor in two," an EU official said, in another European muddle on Israel at a critical time.

Opinion

Europe's last stand for the two-state solution?

European governments, despite their different policy sensibilities, are still united in their support for a two-state solution. This may be the last chance Europe has to defend this goal.

Opinion

Israel's annexation? - the EU's options

Regrettably, it is no longer a matter of if, but when Israel will begin to annex big parts of Palestine, including the Jordan Valley and all its 131 settlements.

Podcast

Ultraconservatives in Putin's shadow

Vladimir Putin's Ukraine war has threatened to be a public relations disaster for hard-right gatherings like the Conservative Political Action Conference — now meeting in Budapest and featuring Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, who remains highly-cordial with the Kremlin.

Opinion

Will 'Putin's Nato' follow Warsaw Pact into obscurity?

Valdimir Putin's equivalent to Nato — the Collective Security Treaty Organization of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Belarus — is convening in Moscow next week to give cover that Russia is not alone in its war against Ukraine.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us