EU: Israel's policies in the West Bank endanger two-state solution
Foreign Ministers list settler violence, settlement expansion and house demolitions as detrimental to peace process; Israel says report is biased and one-sided.
The 27 foreign ministers of the European Union published on Monday a strong denunciation of Israel's policies in the West Bank. The announcement, reported for the first time by Haaretz, says that Israel's policies pose a threat to a two-state solution."
"The viability of a two-state-solution must be maintained," the message reads. "The EU expresses deep concern about developments on the ground which threaten to make a two-state solution impossible."
The announcement criticizes settler violence against Palestinians. "The EU expresses deep concern regarding settler extremism and incitement by settlers in the West Bank," the statement read. "The EU condemns continuous settler violence and deliberate provocations against Palestinian civilians. It calls on the government of Israel to bring the perpetrators to justice and to comply with its obligations under international law.
The announcement lists a series of actions taken by Israel in the West Bank in recent months - marked acceleration of settlement construction following the end of the 2010
Moratorium, the decision grant legal status to the Bruchin, Sansana and Rechalim outposts, and the plan to move the illegal outpost of Migron to a different area in the West Bank and create a new settlement.
The foreign ministers also point to the continued house demolitions in East Jerusalem, the expansion of Jewish neighborhood and "the prevention of peaceful Palestinian cultural, economic, social or political activities."
They also said that there living conditions in Area C, in which Israel has civilian and security control, have deteriorated: "There are limitations for the PA to promote the economic development of Palestinian communities in Area C," they said. "Social and economic developments in Area C are of critical importance for the viability of a future Palestinian state, as Area C is its main land reserve. The EU calls upon Israel to meet its obligations regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C, including… forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing."
The EU document also states that "settlements remain illegal under international law, irrespective of recent decisions by the government of Israel. The EU reiterates that it will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties." They also reaffirmed their commitment to implement existing EU legislation applicable to settlement products.
Israel's Foreign Ministry flatly rejected the EU's claims. "The conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on the Middle East Peace Process include a long list of claims and criticism which are based on a partial, biased and one sided depiction of realities on the ground. Such a public presentation does not contribute to advance the process.
Officials added that Israel Israel is committed to the well being of the Palestinian population and acts according to all relevant international conventions.