Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
SUNDAY, 20 APR 2014
02:27 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
22 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
EU condemns Israel over settlements
Associated Press
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lights candles on the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah during an event with foreign press in Jerusalem, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012.  Netanyahu is accusing the international community of double standards, saying it condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank but not Palestinians' refusal to renew peace talks or militant group Hamas' call for the end of the Jewish state. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lights candles on the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah during an event with foreign press in Jerusalem, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. Netanyahu is accusing the international community of double standards, saying it condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank but not Palestinians' refusal to renew peace talks or militant group Hamas' call for the end of the Jewish state. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
A+ A-

BRUSSELS: The European Union warned Israel of unspecified consequences Monday if it goes through with plans to build thousands of new settler homes in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The bloc's 27 foreign ministers said they were "deeply dismayed" by Israeli plans to expand settlements in East Jerusalem and particularly the E1 project, which would separate the West Bank from east Jerusalem, the Palestinians' hoped-for capital, and drive a big wedge between the northern and southern flanks of the West Bank.

"The E1 plan, if implemented, would seriously undermine the prospects of a negotiated resolution of the conflict by jeopardizing the possibility of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state and of Jerusalem as the capital of two states," said the ministers said in a joint statement. "It could also entail forced transfer of civilian populations."

The EU views any Israeli settlements on territory occupied during the 1967 Mideast war as a breach of international law.

"The EU will closely monitor the situation and its broader implications and act accordingly," the ministers said.

The new settlement plans have drawn widespread international condemnation, with the U.S. also urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call off the plans.

Europe's political view of the Mideast has changed profoundly since Israel announced plans to build 3,000 new settler homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said earlier.

Bildt, speaking as ministers gathered for Monday's meeting, said the Israeli plans had caused "extreme concern" in Europe.

"What the Israelis did on E1 has shifted opinions in Europe," Bildt said. "I don't think the Israelis are aware of this."

Some advocacy groups want the EU to prohibit the sale of goods made by Israeli settlers from being labeled as made in Israel. The labeling issue may come up but was not officially on the agenda.

The 27 EU foreign ministers also considered the crisis in Syria, where activists say more than 40,000 people have died since an uprising against President Bashar Assad began in March 2011. They were briefed by Mouaz al-Khatib, a moderate cleric who heads the new, Western-backed opposition coalition in Syria. Hard-line Islamist groups in the country have not joined the new coalition, and al-Khatib told the EU ministers about attempts to unify the Syrian opposition as the coalition seeks greater diplomatic recognition.

The EU does not itself offer formal recognition - that is left to the individual member countries - but it has said the coalition is a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Bildt said it was important for EU foreign ministers to send a message of strong support to the opposition, and also to Lakdhar Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League peace envoy for Syria, who Bildt said has been making "good progress."

Bildt said Syria's chemical weapons would be discussed, as well.

"In a situation of chaos, it is exceedingly dangerous if these things start floating around in the region," he said.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said many members have been urging the EU to move on bringing war crimes charges against Assad.

"We must recognize the terrible situation in Syria and the responsibility he bears for it," Ashton said.

Syria is not a party to the International Criminal Court and the U.N. Security Council has not referred the conflict to the war crimes tribunal.

Also Monday, the foreign ministers approved the concept of an EU noncombat training mission in Mali, where the central government has lost control of the northern part of the African nation to armed Islamist groups.

The U.S. and the European Union want the Malian army and other African troops to be properly trained before they try to retake the north.

The move allows EU military planners to start preparations for the mission, which would provide instruction to the Malian military. Another council decision will be needed before the Mali mission is deployed.

 
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Israel
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Saturday April 19, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Why Israeli-Palestinian talks fail
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS