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Israel frantic over EU attempts to tighten sanctions against West Bank settlements

January 18, 2016 at 11:27 am

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has been working relentlessly to thwart a European Union decision that would firmly distinguish between Israel and territories occupied in the 1967, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday citing senior Israeli and European officials.

According to the officials, if the resolution is adopted it could result in new, tighter sanctions against illegal Israeli settlements.

The paper said the decision, which will be issued at the conclusion of the EU foreign minister’s monthly meeting, was expected to be relatively moderate, but senior Israeli officials concluded that the text of the resolution will be strong against Israel.

Haaretz quoted an Israeli official as saying that “the drafts have become increasingly harsh and grave from moment to moment. The Swedes and Irish are pushing and it appears as if our friends are not able to withstand it. The Germans are trying to hold the line, but are not succeeding.”

Regarding the distinction between Israel and the West Bank settlements, the draft says that “the EU will continue to unequivocally and explicitly make the distinction between Israel and all territories occupied by Israel in 1967.”

It also stresses that “EU agreements with the State of Israel are only applicable to the State of Israel and not to the settlements.”

According to the draft resolution, “the EU will continue to closely monitor developments on the ground and their broader implications…The EU will consider further action to protect the viability of the two-state solution, which is constantly eroded by new facts on the ground.”

Further, it outlines measures to resume the stalled peace process by establishing an “international support group” and organising an “international peace conference” to revive negotiations.

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