Blowing Off World Outrage, Netanyahu Seeks New Sanctions Against Palestinian Gov't

PM to convene ministers Sunday to discuss additional countermeasures; notice of meet follows U.S., EU condemnations of latest settlement expansion plans.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Credit: AP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Undeterred by international condemnation of Thursday's settlement expansion announcements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will convene a team of ministers on Sunday to discuss additional countermeasures against the Palestinian unity government.

The ministers, representing all parties in the coalition, will discuss new sanctions against the Palestinian Authority as well as political alternatives such as annexation of settlement blocs, which is advocated by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.

Notice of the Sunday meeting was put out after the European Union and United States condemned Israel's settlement expansion moves, which were publicized earlier in the day. The government said it will publish tenders for 1,500 settlement homes, and advance plans for building 1,800 more.

In reaction, the European Union "pledged to continue monitoring the situation and act accordingly. We recall that the EU Foreign Affairs Council has also reaffirmed its commitment to fully and effectively implement existing legislation in relation to settlements."

Behind that diplomatic language stands a series of economic sanctions on settlements that the European Union planned to impose last year, but which it froze at Washington's request so as not to harm the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks then being shepherded by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The planned moves included EU directives to marketing networks on the continent to specially mark imports originating in West Bank settlements, and warning European business people not to make deals or investments in the settlements.

Shortly after the EU statement, the United States said it was "deeply disappointed" by Israel's announcements.

"We said on a regular basis that such actions are unhelpful and it is hard to see how these settlements contribute to peace," U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Herf said at a press briefing.



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