Friday

23rd Jul 2021

EU and US urge Israel to defuse Jerusalem violence

The EU and US have voiced alarm over growing violence in Jerusalem, while urging Israel to curb settlement expansion.

Three nights of unrest in the city, which erupted on Friday (7 May), have left over 300 people and dozens of policemen injured.

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

Rocket fire from Gaza on Sunday and Israeli air-strikes also indicated the violence was spreading.

The clashes broke out over Israeli plans to evict Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods to make way for Jewish settlers.

And they could get worse on Monday, when Israeli nationalists plan to march through the Old City in a regular event which Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said should go ahead anyway.

"We will not allow any extremists to destabilise the calm in Jerusalem. We will enforce law and order decisively and responsibly", he said on Sunday.

"We emphatically reject the pressures not to build in Jerusalem," amid recent plans to build 540 new homes for Jewish settlers, on top of the eviction case.

The Middle East Quartet, an international club of mediators involving the EU, Russia, the UN, and the US called on "all sides" to stay calm.

But their statement placed the burden of responsibility on Israeli authorities to defuse the situation.

"We call upon Israeli authorities to exercise restraint and to avoid measures that would further escalate the situation during this period of Muslim Holy Days," they said in a joint statement.

The Jerusalem evictions "will only escalate the already tense environment", they added.

And an EU spokesperson struck the same note in a separate communiqué.

"The European Union calls on the authorities to act urgently to de-escalate the current tensions in Jerusalem," the EU said.

"The situation with regard to the evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and other areas of East Jerusalem is ... of serious concern. Such actions are illegal under international humanitarian law and only serve to fuel tensions on the ground," the EU added.

The US criticism of Israeli authorities marked a change in tone from the previous White House of former president Donald Trump, which said settlements were legal and which endorsed Israel's unilateral claim to Jerusalem by moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

But despite the change, there is no sign the US is planning to do a U-turn on the embassy move.

Palestinian PM demands EU pressure Israel on elections

Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told MEPs that Israel is actively sabotaging the first Palestinian election to be held in 15 years. He also asked the EU to pile pressure on Israel so that people can vote in East Jerusalem.

EU red-flags Israel's Givat Hamatos settlement

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.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Macron changes phone after Pegasus spyware revelations
  2. Italy to impose 'vaccinated-only' entry on indoor entertainment
  3. EU 'will not renegotiate' Irish protocol
  4. Brussels migrants end hunger strike
  5. Elderly EU nationals in UK-status limbo after missed deadline
  6. WHO: 11bn doses needed to reach global vaccination target
  7. EU to share 200m Covid vaccine doses by end of 2021
  8. Spain ends outdoor mask-wearing despite surge

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Far left and right MEPs less critical of China and Russia
  2. Why is offshore wind the 'Cinderella' of EU climate policy?
  3. Open letter from 30 embassies ahead of Budapest Pride
  4. Orbán counters EU by calling referendum on anti-LGBTI law
  5. Why aren't EU's CSDP missions working?
  6. Romania most keen to join eurozone
  7. Slovenia risks court over EU anti-graft office
  8. Sweden's gang and gun violence sets politicians bickering

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us