12 More EU Countries Warn Against Trade With Israeli Settlements

Settlements are illegal under international law, statements say, and dealing with them carries legal and financial risks.

An Israeli flag is seen in front of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim.
AP

Twelve members of the European Union have published warnings over the past day urging their citizens to refrain from engaging in business, economic activity and investment in settlements or bodies connected to the settlements.

The announcements stated that the settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights are illegal and economic activity on the part of individuals or businesses carries legal and financial risks, as well as risks to their reputations. So far 17 EU nations have published such warnings.

“Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements as well as other economic activities (including services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements, entail legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the Israeli settlements, according to international law, are built on occupied land and are not recognized as a legitimate part of Israel’s territory,” said the statement.

The wave of such warnings came after France, Italy, and Spain published their own warnings a few days ago, joining Germany and Britain, which had already published such warnings a few years ago.

“Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible,” the statement read. “The EU and its Member States will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties,” it stated.

The Portuguese Foreign Ministry published its own warning on Wednesday and 11 other nations quickly followed suit on Thursday: Austria, Malta, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Greece, Slovakia, Belgium and Croatia.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry noted that the Netherlands decided not to issue such a warning at this stage, saying it had published a similar one in the past.

Latvia is expected to come out with a warning on Friday, while Sweden and Poland are likely to do so in the near future. A few other EU nations — Cyprus, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary — have made it clear to Israel that they do not intend to publish such announcements.

Some countries, including Ireland, added a section noting that this does not mean they are imposing a boycott against Israel: “The Government also wishes to reiterate its long-standing policy of complete opposition to any form of boycott directed against Israel as well as its continued strong commitment to promoting our trade and business ties with Israel to the full,” the statement added.