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JPOST.COM STAFF, JTA \
EU envoy: Europe losing patience with Israel over settlement building
EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen 370.
The EU's ambassador to Israel said on Friday that many European nations were losing patience with Jerusalem due to the continued expansion of settlements beyond the Green Line. Lars Faaborg-Andersen warned at a seminar that more European countries would issue warnings to their citizens against conducting business with companies in Israeli settlements, Israel Radio reported.The EU envoy's remarks followed the business warnings issued by European powers Spain and Italy, following suit of France earlier in the week.Spain and Italy brought to five the number of major European Union countries warning citizens against investment in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. These settlements “constitute an obstacle to peace” and the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, read a statement published on the Spanish Foreign Ministry's website.“The potential buyers and investors should know that a future peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians, or between Israel and Syria could have consequences both for properties acquired and for economic activities promoted in said settlements,” the Spanish statement said. “In case of litigation, it could be very difficult for member states to guarantee the protection of their interests.”EU entities considering commercial activities in what the EU considers settlements “should be aware of the potential implications for their reputation”, it added.Stopping short of calling for such entities to refrain from investing in these areas, the statement advised them to “seek adequate legal counsel before moving ahead” with such plans.“The statement is not intended as a call for a boycott in any way, or to limit economic cooperation between Spain and Israel within its internationally-recognized borders,” Carlos Entrena Moratiel, a ministry spokesman, told JTA.On Tuesday, the French Foreign Ministry caution citizens against doing business in the settlements, stating that the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights, are “occupied by Israel since 1967. Settlements are illegal under international law."“As a result,” a statement on the ministry's website warned, “there are risks related to economic and financial activities in Israeli settlements.The statement said that “citizens and businesses considering economic or financial activities in the settlements are called to seek appropriate legal advice before proceeding with these activities.”The French guidelines used very similar wording to that used by Britain when it issued a warning of its own against economic activity in the settlements last December.The Germans and the Dutch, too, have issued similar warnings.
Herb Keinon contributed to this article.
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