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PLO calls on EU to 'reconsider' ties with Israel
By JPOST.COM STAFF
11/12/2012
Ashrawi of PLO Executive C'tee: Europe must follow words with actions to condemn "settlement activities, rise of settler violence."
 
The Palestine Liberation Organization called on the European Union on Tuesday to "reconsider" it's political and trade relations with Israel over what it called "provocations."

The EU said on Monday that it was “deeply dismayed by and strongly opposes Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank, including in east Jerusalem, and in particular plans to develop the E1 area,” and said all of its agreements with Israel only applied to the pre-1967 lines.

It also denounced as "unacceptable" recent inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders in Gaza "that deny Israel’s right to exist."

Hanan Ashrawi, a PLO Executive Committee member, praised the EU condemnation of Israeli settlement plans, but said it should go further.

“We call on the EU to hold Israel accountable for its illegal occupation of Palestine, reconsider its political and trade relations with Israel and agreements, including the EU-Israel Association agreement, implement a ban on Israeli settler products and extremist settlers, and rescue the chances for peace and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Ashrawi said.

Specifically, she condemned Israel for "settlement activities and the rise of settler violence," as well as "the blatant attack on Palestinian security forces, the raiding and plundering of the offices of Palestinian NGOs and civil society organizations, and the increase in home demolitions.”

Israeli soldiers raided the offices of three civil society organizations on Tuesday in the heart of Ramallah, wrenching open the doors of the Women's Union, the Palestinian NGO Network and Addameer, an advocate for Palestinians in Israeli jails, confiscating five computers from the latter group.

In Monday's statement, European Union foreign ministers said that all of the body’s agreements with Israel only applied to the pre-1967 lines.

A diplomatic source told The Jerusalem Post that he feared some of the language in the council statement was placed there to lay the groundwork for labelling and possibly banning settlement products in the future.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman raised eyebrows in a Tuesday interview with Israel Radio when he compared European diplomacy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the Holocaust, "I'm not pleased with Europe's position that again, again in history, ignores calls to annihilate the nation of Israel."

Hamas, he said, missed no opportunity to clearly state its objective of annihilating the state of Israel, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, he insisted, supported that position.

"We already went through this Europe at the end of the 30s, in the 40s. They are sacrificing all their values in favor of their interests. Even then, in the 40s they knew what was going on with the concentration camps, to the Jews, and they didn't exactly act," Liberman said.

Tovah Lazaroff and Reuters contributed to this report.
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