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EU consuls urge sanctions against settlements

Feb. 27, 2013 3:21 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 28, 2013 10:06 P.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- European Union consuls general based in Jerusalem and Ramallah have recommended economic sanctions against Israeli settlements, according to an EU document.

Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported Wednesday that the document includes a recommendation to “prevent, discourage and raise awareness about problematic implications of financial transactions including foreign direct investments, from within the EU in support of settlement activities, infrastructure and services.”

According to the report, seven of the document's 10 recommendations deal with imposing direct or indirect sanctions by the EU on bodies and organizations involved in construction in the settlements.

The report also focuses on Jerusalem, from which it says Israel is “systematically undermining the Palestinian presence” through “restrictive zoning and planning, demolitions and evacuations, discriminatory access to religious sites, an inequitable education policy, difficult access to health care, the inadequate provision of resources.”

Haaretz said the report also focuses on Israel's treatment of Muslims and Christians and accuses Israeli authorities of attempting to redefine the city's religious character.

In Ramallah, PLO official Hanan Ashrawi welcomed the report.

“With Israel's most recent escalation of settlement activities in and around Jerusalem, the rise of settler violence and Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian rights, it is of utmost urgency for European countries to follow this courageous assessment with concrete and tangible steps and with punitive measures,” she said in a statement.

“Therefore, we call on the European Union, whether as individual countries or collectively, to stand up to Israel and implement bold initiatives that demand European divestment from settlements and settlement products. Israel’s settlement campaign is the single most significant threat to the two-state solution, and now is the time to exercise the political will that is required to hold Israel accountable before any and all chances for peace are destroyed," Ashrawi said.
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