Israel putting any two-state peace deal at risk, says EU (GUARDIAN UK) Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem 05/15/12)
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European Union criticises expansion of settlements and conditions for
Palestinians in West Bank and East Jerusalem
The European Union has warned that the prospect of a peaceful and
viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, involving two
states side by side, is in jeopardy because of Israeli actions.
In a sharply critical statement issued in Brussels on Monday, the EU
foreign affairs council warned that the acceleration of settlement
construction, evictions and house demolitions in East Jerusalem,
settler violence and provocations, and worsening conditions for
Palestinians in most of the West Bank "threaten to make a two-state
It reiterated that Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East
Jerusalem are illegal under international law, saying that the EU
will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders without both
parties´ agreement. Jerusalem must be the future capital of both
states, it said.
Israel swiftly rejected the statement, saying its "long list of
claims and criticisms [were] based on a partial, biased and one-sided
depiction of realities on the ground".
The statement called on Israel to meet its obligations to the
Palestinian population living in "Area C", the 61% of the West Bank
which is under full Israeli security control.
The EU said living conditions were deteriorating, and that Israel
must halt the forced transfer of Bedouin communities and demolition
of housing and infrastructure, make building permits easier to obtain
and ensure access to water.
Aid organisations working in the West Bank separately reported on
Monday that 62 EU-funded projects such as housing, water cisterns and
farm buildings had been demolished by Israeli security forces last
year and a further 110 were at risk.
The affected structures were financed by Britain, Ireland, France,
the Netherlands, Poland and the European commission.
The Israeli defence ministry is to seek court approval this week for
the demolition of 12 communities for whom the UK government funded
water cisterns and sanitation systems. The largely cave-dwelling
communities are sited in an area Israel has designated a military
The EU statement welcomed a recent exchange of letters between the
Israeli and Palestinian leaders, in which both sides said they wanted
to resume negotiations. It also briefly referred to
Israel´s "legitimate security needs" and condemned rocket fire from
Gaza. (guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012 05/15/12)
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