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EU Condemns State of Israel Over Settlements


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.

Israel's announcement of the project seemed timed as a response to the UN General Assembly's overwhelming vote to accord a Palestinian state non-member observer state status in the United Nations on November 29, 2012. The resolution passed 138-9, with 41 abstentions.

‘‘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 EU 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.

The Israeli government reacted by calling the EU focus ‘‘mistaken.’’

‘‘Facts and history both prove that Jewish settlement never constituted an obstacle to peace,’’ said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. ‘‘Therefore, the EU’s focus on this issue is mistaken.’’

Netanyahu also decried what he saw as a double-standard.

‘‘We cannot accept that when Jews build homes in their ancient capital, Jerusalem, the international community has no problem finding its voice, but when Palestinian leaders openly call for the destruction of Israel, the one and only Jewish state, the world is silent,’’ Netanyahu said Monday.

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

Our comment:

The Israelis have never paid much attention to world opinion as reflected in UN resolutions (except, of course, for the Partition Plan resolution of November 29, 1947 which gave them their "birth certificate"). From Resolution 194, which obligated the Israelis to retreat to the Partition Plan borders and allow back the Palestinian refugees, to Resolution 242, which demanded that they give back lands conquered during the 1967 war, it was always "UN, Shmu-en," as Ben Gurion would say.

But this time, Bibi Netanyahu and his government were not content with simply ignoring the latest UN resolution granting the Palestinians observer state status - they felt the need to flaunt it openly by announcing the construction of more homes that would effectively prevent the creation of any such Palestinian state. Bibi's chutzpah is reminiscent of the defiant child who looks his parents in the face and says, "I'm not afraid of you. Watch, I'll behave even worse."

If they had any sense they would realize that their behavior is destructive to their very own Zionism. Giving the Palestinians a state in one part of the Holy Land is the only way Zionism (the idea that Jews should have a state of their own) can continue in the other part. Bibi and the Israelis, with their own actions, are putting the final nails in the coffin of the two-state solution, leaving themselves with two million stateless Palestinians in their borders. The world will accuse them of apartheid and force them to grant these people citizenship, bringing the total non-Jewish population of their state up to 40% and endangering its Jewish majority.

"He who sits in Heaven laughs" (Psalms 2:4). The Zionists think they can thumb their noses at the world and at G-d, who gave us the Torah and prohibited a Jewish state. G-d laughs at them and says, "You will see that your own actions eventually bring about your downfall."