EU condemns Hamas rhetoric, Israeli settlement plans

Europeans denounces as "unacceptable" recent statements by Hamas leaders "that deny Israel’s right to exist," say Israeli plans to develop E1 corridor would "seriously undermine the prospects of a negotiated resolution."

EU building 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Vincent Kessler)
EU building 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Vincent Kessler)
The European Union on Monday denounced as "unacceptable" recent inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders in Gaza "that deny Israel’s right to exist," while also condemning Israel for its plans to construct settlements in the controversial E1 corridor in the West Bank.
On Saturday, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal reiterated that the terror group would never accept Israel's legitimacy and pledged to “free the land of Palestine inch by inch.”
In statement released following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, the bloc reiterated its "fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, including with regard to vital threats in the region," adding it "will never stop opposing those who embrace and promote violence as a way to achieve political goals."
The EU statement came in the wake of harsh condemnation levied by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu against "deafening" silence of the international community in the face of Hamas calls for Israel's destruction.
At the same time, however, the EU also said it was "deeply dismayed by and strongly opposes" preliminary Israeli plans to construct 3,000 homes in the E1 area of Jerusalem.
"The E1 plan, if implemented, would seriously 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," the EU claimed.
"In the light of its core objective of achieving the two-state solution, the EU will closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and act accordingly," the statement concluded.
The statement made no mention of what European governments could do to pressure Israel over the settlements, and diplomats said no concrete plans for sanctions were brought up during the discussions.
Israel announced the new construction plan shortly after the UN General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians' status to "non-member state."
Reuters contributed to this report.