EU 'concerned' by Israeli activities in e. J'lem

The European Union continues to be "concerned" about Israeli activities in and around east Jerusalem, including "settlement" expansion and demolition of Palestinian houses there, an official said Wednesday. Austrian Deputy Foreign Minister Hans Winkler told the European Parliament such activities contradict international law. Austria holds the rotating EU presidency. In December, the EU decided against publishing a report on east Jerusalem that was highly critical of Israeli settlement activity and the security barrier Israel is constructing to keep out Palestinian attackers. The EU said publishing the report was inappropriate as Israel was heading for national elections and the EU did not want to get involved in domestic Israeli politics in the run-up to elections. The report raised concerns about restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in east Jerusalem, Israeli settlements there and the impact of the security barrier on Palestinian communities.