BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday welcomed a series of recent statements from major European countries warning their citizens from doing business in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
The ministry said that the warnings -- which were issued by the governments of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, and the Netherlands earlier on -- reflected a commitment to the universality of human rights.
The statements warned citizens of those countries from engaging in commercial affairs with Israeli settlements not only in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, but also in the Syrian Golan Heights.
More than 500,000 Israelis live in Jewish settlement in the occupied territories, in violation of international which prohibits the movements of civilians from the occupying population into militarily-occupied territories.
The ministry noted that the warnings are consistent with the European Union's "long-standing position" vis-a-vis the settlements, and in line with the UN interpretations of international law which supports "the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination."
The ministry also stressed that the the settlements are "detrimental to the two state solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders," highlighting that "Israel the occupying power has shown itself unwilling to halt settlement construction and end its numerous additional violations of international law - even as a temporary measure of good faith during 'negotiations.'"
"In this context, such steps by third parties are important to avoid being complicit in Israeli violations of international law and to contribute to putting an end to them," the statement continued, calling upon all EU member states to adopt "all necessary measures not to render aid or assistance to illegal settlement activity."
"Such measures must pave the way for the banning of illegal Israeli settlement products in all EU member states, prohibiting any form of involvement, both direct and indirect, by citizens, groups, corporations and governments in the illegal settlement activity."