Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

23 Oct, 2014

EU warns Israel not to cross “red lines” in West Bank

JERUSALEM, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) — The European Union (EU) has demarcated “red lines” for Israel regarding its settlement policy in the West Bank, warning Israel not to make moves that would jeopardize the creation of a Palestinian state, the Ha’aretz daily reported Wednesday.

Following a series of controversial moves by the Israeli government in recent months, including the annexation of nearly 1, 000 acres of land in the West Bank, as well as the establishment of a new Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem, members of the EU began discussions on possible steps to curb Israel’s settlement expansion in an effort to save the two-state solution.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Mideast War and annexed territories in east Jerusalem. The international community views these settlements as illegal and counter-effective to the diplomatic efforts between Israel and the Palestinians.

In an internal document, obtained by the Ha’aretz daily, EU officials warn Israel against approving tenders and construction plans beyond the green line, or lands occupied during the 1967 Mideast War, which are set to be part of a Palestinian state.

The EU also warned Israel against building in the E1 corridor, the area that connects Jerusalem with the West Bank. Jewish settlements in the area will disrupt the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state.

The European international body also demanded that Israel maintain the status quo at Temple Mount, a sensitive religious site in Jerusalem that has been a focal point of clashes between Israeli Jews and Palestinians.

“The EU considers the preservation of the two-state solution a priority,” the document read, according to the daily. “The only way to resolve the conflict is through an agreement that ends the occupation, which began in 1967, and ends all claims and fulfills the aspirations of both parties. A one state reality would not be compatible with these aspirations.”

According to the daily, the content of the document is set to be presented to Israeli officials through the EU’s ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, in the upcoming days.

Israeli foreign ministry officials fear that the document precedes more sanctions against Israel, the paper said.

Last year, the EU passed a resolution according to which companies and organizations operating within the EU cannot conduct business with Israeli counterparts operating in West Bank territories, in effect negating Israel’s sovereignty on those lands.

Israel suspended its negotiations with the Palestinian Authority after nine months in April following the latter’s establishment of a national unity government with Hamas, which is viewed by Israel as a terrorist group because it has vowed to destroy Israel in the past.