Tuesday

28th Jun 2022

EU red-flags Israel's Givat Hamatos settlement

  • Givat Hamatos of 'huge concern', EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

New Israeli settlements around Jerusalem could do more harm to Middle East peace than Israel's recent deals with Arab states did good, EU foreign relations chief Josep Borrell has indicated.

"The Givat Hamatos tender, the first new settlement in occupied-East Jerusalem in 20 years, is of huge concern", Borrell told MEPs in the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday (24 November), referring to one Israeli project.

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 singled out Givat Hamatos because, if built, it would almost cut off East Jerusalem from Palestinians in the West Bank, making a two-state solution hard to imagine.

But it was just one of several new settlements, which Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was trying to ram through before US president Donald Trump, his ally, left the White House in January.

The "spike" in settlements and in demolitions of Palestinian structures meant the EU would continue its freeze on upgrading Israel diplomatic relations, Borrell noted.

And Netanyahu was still threatening to annex parts of the West Bank in future, Borrell said.

"Israel's annexation plans still need to be abandoned, not suspended temporarily, but abandoned, abandoned altogether," the EU's top diplomat said.

"There will never be peace and stability in the region [Middle East] without a comprehensive settlement of the [Arab-Israeli] conflict," he said.

Israel recently made history by agreeing to normalise relations with Gulf Arab states Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as with Sudan.

There "may be more" such accords in future, Borrell said, after Netanyahu also visited Saudi Arabia.

And they "could have a positive effect on ... regional stability," Borrell added.

But Europe did not believe the Israeli-Arab accords reflected a deep reconciliation, he indicated.

They "reflected a transactional rather than a transformative approach," Borrell said on Tuesday.

"The UAE and Bahrain have never been at war with Israel, so to call them 'peace deals' might be an exaggeration," he said, referring to some MEPs' views on the so-called Abraham Accords.

"Maybe this strategy reflects a deeper polarisation in the Arab world, where mostly Sunni [Muslim] Arab states consider [Shia Muslim] Iran along with political Islam as a more serious threat in the region and are thus more likely to enter into cooperation with Israel," he added.

Bahrain got access to US F-35 fighter-jet technology as part of its transaction, Borrell noted.

And Trump got Sudan got off the US terrorism list, unlocking foreign investment, he added.

Interview

Erekat: What EU should tell Pompeo on Israel

Foreign ministers should tell US secretary of state on Monday that Israeli annexation means EU sanctions on Israel and a rift with the US, Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian diplomat, said.

Eminent women appeal for EU help on Palestine

West Bank annexation "was conceived almost entirely by men" and will crush the "dignity and rights" of Palestinian women still further, a group of 40 women leaders have said.

Interview

Can Gaza avert a coronavirus 'nightmare'?

A coronavirus outbreak in Gaza would be a "nightmare", a UN official has warned, but the pandemic's economic cost alone could be too much to bear.

Opinion

Will EU ever take action to stop Israeli settlements?

The EU-Israel Association Agreement, and Israel's systematic violation of its article 2, must be stopped until Israel implements its obligations under international law. This should not be a matter of controversy, but the least peace-loving countries must do.

News in Brief

  1. EU engine ban splits Germany's coalition
  2. Over five million Ukrainian IDPs return home
  3. 37 dead from Melilla stampede, says NGO
  4. Norway police call for Pride cancellation 'until further notice'
  5. EU watchdog concern over Europol extended mandate
  6. EU environment agency chief: 'extremely limited' resources
  7. Hungary's forint hits record low, piling pressure on Orbán
  8. Johnson: Northern Ireland bill could enter into force this year

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. Western public has 'moral' duty to Ukraine, Nato chief says
  2. Kiwis are my slavery — the hellish life of a Sikh labourer in Italy
  3. Why EU's increased militarisation should worry us all
  4. Member states water down renewable energy proposal
  5. Greek minister denies pushbacks despite evidence
  6. Pollution causes 10% of cancer cases in Europe, EU report finds
  7. G7 leaders discuss further sanctions against Russia
  8. Expect Czech EU presidency to downgrade V4 priorities

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us