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Israel/ Palestinian Territories - Settlements (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - June 10, 2013)

Q : With respect to Israel, the NGO Peace Now reports that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are at their highest level in 7 years and that in the first quarter of 2013 the number of housing starts tripled compared to the previous quarter. The NGO gives the Israeli government’s official figures.

What is the status of the policy aimed at convincing Israel that settlement activity is contrary to the peace process? Apart from the statements and the expressions of disapproval, how do you think you can convince the Israeli government of the merits of your position? What’s happening at the European level on this issue which everyone seems to see as a major obstacle to peace and to the two-state solution, whilst not forgetting the issue of international law which is continuously being flouted?

A : We’re extremely concerned by the developments referred to in the report that you mention. The new construction projects observed at the beginning of the year are largely the result of the approvals granted at the end of 2012, which we condemned.

Our position on settlement activity is well known: we believe that it is illegal under international law, that it undermines the trust necessary for the resumption of dialogue and that it constitutes an obstacle to a just peace based on the two-state solution.

I reaffirm that the EU Foreign Affairs Council signaled in May and December 2012 our determination to fully and effectively implement the legislation in force and the bilateral agreements applicable to settlement products.


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