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EU dismayed at Israeli settlements, takes no action
Published Monday 10/12/2012 (updated) 12/12/2012 14:27
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A bird flies over pieces of wood in an area near Jerusalem known as E1,
on Dec. 6. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union expressed dismay on Monday over Israel's plans to build settlements in a highly sensitive part of the West Bank, but spelled out no punitive measures in response.

After meeting in Brussels, foreign ministers of the 27 EU states said the Israeli plan would seriously undermine the prospects of successful peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The EU is deeply dismayed by and strongly opposes Israeli plans to expand settlements," they said in a statement. "The EU will closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and act accordingly."

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.

Deep divisions over how to tackle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict mean sanctions or other concrete steps by EU states appear unlikely for now.

The EU ministers also criticized recent statements by a leader from the Islamist movement Hamas questioning Israel's right to exist.

On Saturday, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told a mass rally in Gaza that he would never recognize Israel and pledged to "free the land of Palestine inch by inch".

"The EU finds inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel's right to exist unacceptable," the ministers said.

Israel announced its new settlement plan shortly after the UN General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians' status in the world body from "observer entity" to "non-member state".
1 ) brynababy / USA
10/12/2012 21:03
It's interesting to note that in discussing 'possibilities' for influencing Israel, no suggestions were made to pressure Abbas to sit down at the table with Israel with no pre-conditions. If Abbas had done so when Barack first made his offer of 95% of what the Palestinians said they wanted, the settlement issue would have been resolved, they would have had a true Palestinian State already and there would be far fewer settlements than there are today. Every time the Pals refused to sit down and

2 ) Colin Wright / USA
10/12/2012 21:36
to brynababy #1: ...and I'm Marilyn Monroe reincarnated. Never mind that the statement is clearly false. I'll just make it.

3 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/12/2012 00:19
to brynababy #1: 'It's interesting to note that in discussing 'possibilities' for influencing Israel, no suggestions were made to pressure Abbas to sit down at the table with Israel...' There's also the point that Israel has lost all credibility as a negotiating partner. Indeed, it is no longer possible to suggest 'negotiating' with her with a straight face. Either she won't make a deal or she'll just make it and then ignore it. The pattern's gotten kind of obvious.

4 ) Deborah / USA
11/12/2012 00:38
to brynababy #1 And I'm the Queen of England. There are so many Americans who had the wool pulled over their eyes about Camp David, one hardly knows where to begin.

5 ) ian / australia
11/12/2012 02:29
Israel, the eccentric entity with no discernible moral code beyond survival (which is not a moral code), operates by creating chaotic messes and conflicts ("abets disorder" Qu'ran) then ekes tiny incremental gains out of the chaos towards the national goal. Pushing the boundaries, like announcing audacious plans for E1 and creating "dismay" (and worse) is part of it. Really, without morals (or shame) Israel will get away with whatever it can. There must be limits to European tolerance but

6 ) ian / australia
11/12/2012 02:31
(contd.) obviously they haven't been reached. Presumably full-blown resurrection of the slave trade might be a bridge too far for the fine sensibilities at the EU...but even then they could surprise. Yahweh help us.

7 ) mv / USA
11/12/2012 07:43
so someone comes to your house and says we are going to build on your front lawn and you back yard...do you think the local town should put pressure on you to negotiate?

8 ) Dunno / Usa
11/12/2012 15:39
I Can't believe you guys are comparing farmers building houses to terrorist shooting rockets

9 ) Palestinian / occupied Palestine
11/12/2012 16:19
#8: farmers building houses????? how about we come to the USA, kick you out of your house and garden and take them? are you okay with that? defending ones country from the israeli military occupation is legitimate and not terrorism. occupying lands and besieging people and bombing their houses is terrorism. get your math right!!! i swear, my grandfathers sheep have more brains that many of you americans!!

10 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
11/12/2012 18:12
@ 3), " ... Israel has lost all credibility as a negotiating partner." and " ... she won't make a deal ...", Here (for a change) you're 100% right. @ 7), It depends on who recognizes whose ownership of the front lawn and back yard it is in the first place. That's the whole problem. If you believe it's your front lawn and back yard, you don't give a damn what the local town says and you're going to build if you want. Separately, we KNOW the entire world cusses and curses us for not (cont.)

11 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
11/12/2012 18:26
abiding by the U.N. resolutions and Palestinian upgrade; for not being "logical," "reasonable," or "sensible." We KNOW. The point is we're not buckling, changing positions or course. We're not turning back the clock 45 damn years ago and just say to everyone: "OK !!! ... NOW we did what everyone WANTED us to do !!! ... So now all the Arab Peoples will recognize us and everyone will live HAPPILY ever after !!! ... HALLELUJAH !!!" If so, you've been reading too many fairy tales.

12 ) Rami / Palestine
13/12/2012 09:29
To #8 Farmers: use hoes, shovels, tractors & plant crops Settlers: use machine guns, wear flak jackets, are part of the IDF, have advance military training, are ideologically radical, racist, terrorists; they torch cars, homes, places of worship, spray paint racist graffiti, beat men, children, women & elderly, kill livestock, forcefully takeover homes, uproot trees, throw molotovs at women & children riding in taxis, & pray for the death of all non-jews. Hmmm...i see no difference whatsover
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