EU criticises Israeli settlements and Hamas statements

BRUSSELS Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:44am IST

An European Union flag flutters outside of the European Parliament in Brussels October 12, 2012. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/Files

An European Union flag flutters outside of the European Parliament in Brussels October 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir/Files

Related Topics

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union sharply criticised Israel on Monday over its plans to build settlements in a highly sensitive part of the West Bank, and rebuked Hamas Islamists for questioning Israel's right to exist.

"The EU is deeply dismayed by and strongly opposes Israeli plans to expand settlements," foreign ministers of the 27 EU states said in a statement after meeting in Brussels.

"The EU will closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and act accordingly."

Sweden's foreign minister Carl Bildt said European governments were increasingly frustrated by the settlement policy.

"What the Israelis did ... has really shifted things inside the European Union to the extent that I don't think they really appreciate," Bildt said before the meeting.

France had wanted to include a warning in Monday's statement that construction in the sensitive parts of the West Bank would damage the relationship between Israel and the EU. The statement did not contain such a comment.

The EU ministers also warned the Palestinians not to take advantage of last month's upgrade in their U.N. status to further undermine confidence between the two sides.

On Saturday, Khaled Meshaal, leader of the Islamist Hamas which rules Gaza, told a mass rally there he would never recognise Israel and pledged to "free the land of Palestine inch by inch".

"The EU finds inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel's right to exist unacceptable," the ministers said.

Israel announced its new settlement plan shortly after the U.N. General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians' status in the world body from "observer entity" to "non-member state".

The upgrade, approved overwhelmingly, fell short of full U.N. membership, which only the Security Council can grant. But it has significant legal implications because it could allow the Palestinians access to the International Criminal Court where they could file complaints against Israel.

(Reporting by Justyna Pawlak; Editing by Sebastian Moffett and Andrew Roche)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Islamic State

Reuters Showcase

Ukraine Cease-Fire

Ukraine Cease-Fire

Kiev, rebels agree to extra measures to ensure Ukraine cease-fire.  Full Article 

Seeking 'Fame'

Seeking 'Fame'

North Korea says imprisoned American tried to become 'second Snowden' .  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola lockdown brings Sierra Leone capital to a halt.  Full Article 

Struck By Storm

Struck By Storm

Storm leaves 200,000 displaced in Philippines, heads for Taiwan   Full Article 

White House Intruder

White House Intruder

US Secret Service investigates after man jumps White House fence, reaches doors  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage