European Union foreign ministers strongly stated that all of the body’s
agreements with Israel only applied to the pre-1967 lines, as they spoke out on
Monday against Israeli settlement plans including the development of
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.
said all of its agreements with Israel “must unequivocally and explicitly
indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967,
namely the Golan Heights; the West Bank, including east Jerusalem; and the Gaza
The council called for full implementation of existing EU
legislations and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement
The statement was part of a larger document on the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict published at the end of the EU Foreign Affairs Council’s
The EU in its statement said 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,” it
E1 is located just outside of Jerusalem, on an unbuilt tract of
land within the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement.
Building up E1, the council
warned, would “undermine the prospects of a negotiated resolution of the
conflict by jeopardizing the possibility of a contiguous and viable Palestinian
state and of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states. It could also
entail forced transfer of civilian population.”
The Foreign Ministry
slammed the council’s conclusions.
“This one-sided position taken by the
EU rewards rejectionism and does not contribute to promoting a permanent peace
agreement,” it said.
As the foreign ministers met in Brussels, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with foreign reporters at a Government Press
Office Hanukka event and rejected the council’s assertions.
Ma’aleh Adumim and linking it with Jerusalem through a narrow corridor will not
harm the two-state solution, Netanyahu said.
Such claims, he said, are
“Unfortunately, if you repeat a falsehood endlessly, it
assumes the cache of truth,” he said.
He chastised the international
community for overly focusing its attention on Israel’s actions, rather than
pressuring the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.
can afford to avoid negotiations [with Israel] because the international
community exacted no price for the Palestinian failure to negotiate in good
faith,” Netanyahu said.
Over the weekend, he said Hamas leaders in Gaza
openly called for Israel’s destruction.
“Where was the outrage?” he
“Where were the UN resolutions? Where was [PA] President [Mahmoud]
Abbas? Why weren’t the Palestinians summoned to European and other capitals to
explain why the PA president not only refused to condemn this but declared his
intention to unite with Hamas?” Netanyahu added that the only thing he heard was
a deafening silence.
“We cannot accept that when Jews build homes in
their ancient capital of Jerusalem, the international community has no problem
finding its voice,” Netanyahu said.
“But when Palestinian leaders openly
call for the destruction of Israel, the one and only Jewish state, the world is
silent,” said Netanyahu.
Israel, he said, would continue to defend its
rights in its ancient homeland against those who seek to destroy
Hours later, the EU council said, “The EU finds inflammatory
statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel’s right to exist
It also called on Israelis and Palestinians to return to
the negotiating table.
The EU issued its statement just one day after
Abbas called on Israel to halt Jewish building in the West Bank and east
Jerusalem in exchange for a six-month negotiating period.
yet to address that initiative, but in talking with the foreign press on Monday,
he said that he rejected any attempts by the Palestinians to impose
preconditions on negotiations.
The prime minister said that Palestinians
have rebuffed his call for direct talks since he took office four years
He outlined the steps he has taken to show good will, including
calling for a two-state solution in his Bar-Ilan University speech in
“I can tell you as a leader of the Likud this was not a simple
speech to make,” he added.
Israel removed roadblocks and checkpoints to
facilitate the movement of people and goods, Netanyahu said, adding that his
government took the unprecedented step of imposing a 10-month moratorium on new
“Still the Palestinians refused to come to the
talks,” Netanyahu said.
They sat down with Israel for only a few hours in
the final month of the moratorium to insist that it be extended, he
The Palestinians refused first a US initiative and then a Jordanian
one for renewed talks, the prime minister said.
“The facts are clear to
anyone who wants to see them. Year after year, the Palestinians pile up
precondition after precondition,” Netanyahu continued.
Palestinians wanted a full settlement freeze in the West Bank and east
Jerusalem, the prime minister said, then a preagreement that the pre-1967 lines
would be the territorial border of the two states, then they wanted the release
of all prisoners.
“Who knows what preconditions the future holds?” he
“The Palestinians avoided negotiations because they were prepared
to take concessions from Israel, but they were not prepared to make concessions
to Israel,” Netanyahu said.
The Palestinians’ unilateral steps toward
statehood at the UN, including the UN General Assembly resolution upgrading
their status to that of non-member observer state, was similarly an attempt to
avoid negotiations, he said.
The Palestinians are not prepared to
recognize Israel as a Jewish state or to seriously address Israel’s security
needs, he said. Netanyahu added that the Palestinians’ UN resolution did not
address these concerns nor did it speak of ending the conflict.
bid was “a material breach of the peace accord. It was an attempt to establish
unacceptable terms of reference for negotiations,” Netanyahu said.
upgraded the Palestinians’ ability to wage legal and diplomatic war against
Israel, Netanyahu said.
Bilateral negotiation without preconditions, he
said, is the only path to a two-state solution.
“The Palestinians have
wasted the last four years and I sincerely hope they won’t waste the next four
years,” he said.