Twelve European Union countries warned their citizens yesterday against engagement in business deals or investing in the illegal Israeli settlements or with bodies connected to them in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported.
The European warnings described the settlements as “illegal under international law”, warning that “individuals or companies who engage in any economic deals with them could face legal and financial risks and harm their image”.
The 12 EU countries bring the number of European countries which warned their citizens against dealing with settlements to 17.
Last week, Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy warned their citizens against dealing with the settlements while Portugal, Austria, Malta, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Greece, Slovakia, Belgium and Croatia issued similar warnings yesterday.
Reports said that Lithuania is expected to issue a similar warning for its citizens tomorrow.
Haaretz quoted sources in the Israeli Foreign Ministry as saying that the Netherlands has decided not to warn its citizens because it has previously done so.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry expects Sweden and Poland to issue similar warnings. Meanwhile, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary informed Israel that they do not intend to issue similar warnings to their citizens at this stage.
The European warnings said: “The Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and represent an obstacle to peace and threaten the two-state solution. The European Union and its Member States will not recognise any change to the 1967 borders, including Jerusalem, unless the two sides have agreed to do so.”
Some European countries, including Ireland, pointed out that the warning does not mean that it plans to boycott Israel, saying “we oppose any form of boycott against Israel”.