A group of 15 former EU officials sent a letter on Sunday to EU foreign policy chief Katharine Ashton and to the foreign ministers of the 28 EU member states asking them not to put off imposing new sanctions on Israeli settlements.
The group consisted of former presidents of states and senior EU bodies such as former EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. In the letter, the officials mentioned by name the EU-Israeli project Horizon 2020 as a target of the planned sanctions.
Fearing that the voices calling to postpone or suspend the sanctions would increase, the former officials sent the letter and insisted that the sanctions include Horizon 2020.
The signatories affirmed that the sanctions are based on the EU’s consideration of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Golan Heights as illegal according to international law. Therefore, the EU does not recognise them.
Regarding fears that this might undermine the “two-state” solution between the Palestinians and Israelis, the letter mentioned that the new illegal settlements undermine that solution.
According to the former officials, sanctions are the least effort that the EU can do to affirm that European taxpayers’ money does not serve illegal settlement activities. They also said that the sanctions helped push the Palestinians to return to negotiations with Israel.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which reported the story, said that the letter is part of the Palestinian lobbying effort in Europe to counter the American and Israeli efforts to cancel or delay the sanctions.