The European Union’s ambassador to Israel lodged a protest Sunday over the decision to the build 1,400 new housing units in West Bank settlements, which was announced as Israel prepares to release a third group of Palestinian prisoners Monday night.
- U.S. Pressuring Israel Not to Announce New Settlement Construction
- PA Threatens Legal Action if Settlement Construction Follows Prisoner Release
- Housing Minister: Settlement Construction Is a Constant, and the U.S. Knows It
- Israel to Release 26 Palestinian Prisoners Monday in Third Stage
- The EU's Offer Still Stands, Despite the Israeli Government's Resounding Silence
- How to Get Around Building Regulations in a West Bank Outpost
- Israel Announces Tenders for 1,400 New Housing Units in West Bank, Jerusalem
- EU Ambassador Warns Israel of Isolation if Peace Talks Fail
- Jerusalem Zoning Board Approves 400 New Homes Over the Green Line
It is unclear if Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen’s protest to the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry will be also be accompanied by EU action against Israel.
An Israeli official and a European diplomat said Faaborg-Andersen called Eran Lerman, Israel’s National Security Council official in charge of foreign policy, and expressed “deep concern” over the plan for a new wave of construction. He approached Foreign Ministry officials with the same concern. At the same time, the British ambassador in Israel, Matthew Gould, conveyed an identical message in talks with senior Israeli Foreign Ministry officials.
A week ago, Haaretz disclosed that the ambassadors from Britain, Germany, France, Spain and Italy had met with the acting director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, and demanded that Israel not announce new construction in West Bank settlements to follow the release of the Palestinian prisoners. The ambassadors warned that if the peace process collapsed in the wake of a new announcement of settlement construction, the EU would place the blame on Israel.
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to approve the publication of public tenders for the construction of 600 housing units in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, which is beyond the 1967 border, and another 800 units in the West Bank. The prime minister issued the announcement to coincide with the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners who have been in Israeli jails since before the Oslo Accords, as he did in the two prior rounds of the four-phase prisoner release agreement.