EU warns Israel against construction of new settlements

The European Union has warned Tel Aviv against hurting talks with the Acting Palestinian Authority (PA) by announcing plans to construct new settler units on occupied Palestinian territories.

The EU’s five largest states, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, warned on December 16 that Israel would be responsible for failed talks if it planned to announce further settlement construction after the release of Palestinian prisoners at the end of the month.

“New announcements of settlement activity after the third round of prisoner releases at the end of the month might be a fatal blow for the peace process,” EU ministers said in a joint statement

However, if talks are positive, the foreign ministers of the 28 EU member states, based on a recently passed resolution, would award both Palestinians and Israelis with an “unprecedented package” of economic, political, and security aid.

Under the package, the relations between the two sides would be also upgraded to “special privileged partnership.”

The ambassadors to Israel of the EU’s five largest states requested an immediate meeting with acting director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Nissim Ben-Shitrit and are expected to hold similar talks with Palestinians.

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators began a new round of talks in July.

This comes while talks previously held between the Palestinians and Israel were halted in September 2010 after Tel Aviv refused to freeze its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.

Israel has so far defied international calls to stop its construction of illegal settlements. Despite ongoing talks with the Palestinians, Israel continues with building settlements on occupied territories.

Over half a million Israelis live in more than 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.

By Press TV


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