Report: EU Planning to Step Up Sanctions on Israeli Settlements After Election

The assumption in Europe is that Israel will elect a rightist government, which will ease the advancement of sanctions, officials tell Walla! News.

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Photo showing the Israeli settlement of Kedumim (on the top) and the Palestinian village of kfar Qaddum (on the bottom), in the West Bank, February 9, 2015
Photo showing the Israeli settlement of Kedumim (on the top) and the Palestinian village of kfar Qaddum (on the bottom), in the West Bank, February 9, 2015Credit: AFP

The European Union is preparing new sanctions against Israeli settlements which are to be enacted following the national election, the Walla! News site reported Tuesday.

The report came a day after it emerged that Israel is planning major expansion of several West Bank settlements.

Walla! cited unnamed Israeli officials as saying that the EU is seeking to deepen the distinction between the territories within the Green Line, and those beyond it. The measures reportedly do not differentiate between West Bank settlement blocs, isolated outposts and Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

"They're talking about sanctions against companies that do business across the border; about legal measures taken by the Palestinians with regard to the settlements; and about the renewed proposal to establish a Palestinian state through the Security Council," one official was quoted as saying. "The assumption in Europe is that after the election Israel will have a rightist government, in which case it would be easier for them to advance these measures."

In November, Haaretz reported about an internal EU document detailing proposed sanctions against Israel. Among the options under consideration were measures against European companies that work in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

According to Walla!, discussions over the measures continued over the past few months.

"This isn't something that's being pushed forward by some group of junior officials in a back room," one official told the news site. "All members of the union are partners in this process, and are helping it move forward."

According to the report, the Israeli elections have delayed the preparation of the sanctions. But since it seems that the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are unlikely to be renewed after the vote, the EU is "planning to shift gears," an official said.

Also according to the report, some European nations are working on independent sanctions against the settlements.

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday called on the international community to do more than condemn Israel's latest plan to expand communities in the West Bank.

Israel is planning to expand the settlements of Emanuel, Kedumim, Neveh Tzuf and Vered Yericho, Haaretz reported Monday.

"The international community should not be satisfied with declarations condemning the settlements" and the "evil policies to take control of Palestinian land," the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Israeli government, the ministry said, "turns such policies legitimate and even encourages them because no one will tell it not to do so or bring it to justice according to the principles of international law."

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