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EU settlement restrictions to begin in 2014

The EU's Middle East envoy, Andreas Reinicke, has confirmed that the union's policy regarding companies based in Israeli settlements will be implemented as scheduled on the first of January 2014. He stressed in a press release on Thursday that these decisions are nothing new but have actually been EU policy for a long time.


In the same statement the envoy pointed out that the European Union members will not move their embassies to Jerusalem. "The European position is clear in this respect," he said, "which is why all the EU countries and the international community have kept their embassies in Tel Aviv." He added that he thinks this situation will continue.

"We will accept amendments to the pre-1967 borders only if this comes out of an agreement between the two parties; we are all for a just and fair solution to the refugees' issue, and we are with Jerusalem as a shared capital for the two states," said Reinicke. "We look forward to the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state that is contiguous and viable which will provide security for Israelis as well as the Palestinians."

Calling on the Israeli government to allow the Palestinians to harvest olives in the new season free from attacks by settlers, the EU envoy described such attacks as "totally unacceptable". He stressed that Palestinian farmers have the right of access to their lands to cultivate them, and therefore it is not acceptable at all that they be assaulted. "The perpetrators of such attacks must be arrested and brought to justice," he insisted.

In closing, Reinicke expressed the belief that if the current negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians fail, then they could be the last. "That's why we must all work hard to ensure their success," he concluded.

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