EU Foreign Policy Chief: Document on Israel Sanctions Is 'Hypothetical' and Internal

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EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini addressing a press conference at the end of her first European Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Nov. 17, 2014.Credit: AFP

The European Union's new foreign policy chief said Monday that a policy document outlining sanctions options against Israel, which Haaretz revealed, is an internal and "hypothetical" working paper that was not brought up for discussion at a meeting of 28 EU foreign ministers earlier that day.

The document, which Haaretz obtained in its entirety, reveals new details on the suggestions being made in the internal discussions among EU member states that have been taking place in Brussels. Among the options under consideration are measures against European companies that work in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"It certainly was not on the ministers' table today and it was not at the heart of today's discussion," Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs said, adding that she had read the report in Haaretz. "There was certainly no question of isolating or sanctioning anybody, rather how can we re-motivate people to get into a dialogue again, how to start a positive process with the Israelis and Palestinians to re-launch a peace process."

Nonetheless, the foreign ministers' meeting ended with a formal condemnation of Israeli building of settlements over the Green Line and a hint regarding punitive measures against Israel.

"Recalling that settlements are illegal under international law, the EU and its Member States remain committed to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products," read the announcement. "The EU closely monitors the situation and its broader implications and remains ready to take further action in order to protect the viability of the two-state solution."

The ministers stressed in their announcement that "the future development of the relations with both the Israeli and Palestinian partners will also depend on their engagement towards a lasting peace based on a two-state solution."

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