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Pedro Gonçalves

EU rejects request to blacklist Hezbollah - Europe - Al Jazeera English - 0 views

  • Lieberman also said on Tuesday that Israel is ready to intervene militarily if there is any indication that Hezbollah is accessing chemical weapons in violence-wrecked Syria.

    His comments came amid reports that Syrian government forces had moved chemical weapons to airports near its borders - a day after Damascus warned that it could use them if Syria is attacked by an external force.

  • "In the moment we see that the Syrians transfer chemical and biological weapons to Hezbollah, this is a red line for us and from our point of view it's a clear casus belli," Lieberman said in Brussels
  • "We will act decisively and without hesitation or restraint," he added. "It will be a completely different ballgame and we hope for the understanding of the international community."
Pedro Gonçalves

BBC News - EU: Goods made at Jewish settlements are not Israeli - 0 views

  • The European Court of Justice has ruled that Israeli goods made in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank cannot be considered Israeli.

    This means goods made by Israelis or Jews in the West Bank cannot benefit from a trade deal giving Israel preferential access to EU markets.

    EU import duties on Israeli goods from the settlements may now be imposed, making them less competitive.

  • The EU has agreements with both Israel and the Palestinians that end customs duties.
Pedro Gonçalves

Following inflammatory article, Sweden to demand EU condemn anti-Semitism - Haaretz - ... - 0 views

  • In a telephone conversation with Haaretz, Frattini said he recently met with his Swedish counterpart, Carl Bildt, and the two agreed that at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers later this week, they will work to pass a resolution making it clear that the EU, under the Swedish presidency, strongly condemns anti-Semitism and will take action against any manifestation of it on the continent.

    Frattini said he intends to demand that the meeting's summary statement explicitly condemn the article published in the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, which claimed that Israeli soldiers harvested the organs of dead Palestinians. He said his proposed statement would declare articles of this sort to be "acts of blatant anti-Semitism."
  • The Italian foreign minister does not believe that the crisis with Sweden, the current president of the EU, have affect relations between Israel and Europe in general. As one of the architects of an agreement to upgrade ties between the EU and Israel, he is encouraged by the fact that Italian pressure led to a decision that separates progress in the peace process from implementation of the agreement.
Pedro Gonçalves

EU apologizes for statements against settlements - Israel News, Ynetnews - 0 views

  • The European Union Commission apologized to Israel's Ambassador to the Union, Ron Kuriel, over statements it made earlier this week claiming that the settlement policy was stifling the Palestinian economy and increasing Palestinian dependence on foreign aid – and therefore was costing European citizens in taxes.
  • The apology was issued after EU Ambassador to Israel Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal was reprimanded by Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry Rafi Barak.
  • Ambassador Kuriel stressed the severity with which Israel sees Dickinson's statement, saying that the issue was not only the lack of diplomatic manners but also the clear deviation from the Commission's stated role, "which is to coordinate aid with the Palestinians, not arrogantly criticize Israel."

     

    Kuriel was assured that an official communiqué had been issued to clarify that the earlier statement did not reflect the Commission's position.

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  • The original statement caused a storm in Israel and Europe after it was released last Monday. According to the statement, the Commission believes Israel's settlement policy is strangling the Palestinian economy and makes the Palestinian government more dependent on foreign aid – the burden of which falls on the European taxpayer. The European Union is one of the largest donors to the Palestinian Authorit
  • According to the EU, expropriation of fertile land for Israeli settlements, roads that serve only settlers, and West Bank checkpoints help constrain Palestinian economic growth and make the Palestinian government more dependent on aid.
  • Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the Commission out for ignoring a recent World Bank report indicating an improvement in the Palestinian economy. "The Mideast Quartet (US, Russia, EU and the UN) welcomed Israel's plans to improve the Palestinian economy, and recognizes Israel's right to security," the Defense Ministry said.

     

    "Thanks to the cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, 140 (West Bank) roadblocks have been removed over the past few months. These measures may double the growth rate of the Palestinian economy from 5 to 10%. Unfortunately, all of these details were omitted from the European Commission's statement."

  • But while the confrontation on the European front has abated – the US on Wednesday reiterated its demand to see a complete freeze on settlement construction.

     

    State Department spokesman Ian Kelly dismissed a report on Wednesday that it had agreed to let Israel build about 2,500 housing units already under construction in West Bank settlements.

     

    "That report in that Israeli media outlet is inaccurate," said after the Maariv newspaper reported that Minister Barak and US envoy George Mitchell had struck such a deal.

  • Under the arrangement reached in London on Monday, Maariv reported, Israel would be allowed to continue work on about 700 buildings already under construction on the occupied West Bank, or about 2,500 units.
  • But Kelly said "the bottom line" for US President Barack Obama's administration has not changed, "that all parties in the region have to honor their obligations.

     

    "And you know what our position is regarding settlements... This activity has to stop. This is laid out in the roadmap. So the reports are inaccurate," Kelly said.

Pedro Gonçalves

Israel summons EU envoy over settlements criticism - Haaretz - Israel News - 0 views

  • The Foreign Ministry on Monday said the EU ambassador to Israel was called in for explanations after the European Commission said Israel's settlement policy helps strangle the Palestinian economy and makes the Palestinian government more dependent on foreign aid.
  • The Foreign Ministry on Monday said the EU ambassador to Israel was called in for explanations after the European Commission said Israel's settlement policy helps strangle the Palestinian economy and makes the Palestinian government more dependent on foreign aid.

    In an unusually harsh statement Monday, the commission said that "it is the European taxpayers who pay most of the price of this dependence."
  • The commission says expropriation of fertile land for Israeli settlements, roads that serve settlers only and West Bank checkpoints help constrain Palestinian economic growth and make the Palestinian government more dependent on aid.
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  • The European Union is one of the largest donors to the Palestinian Authority.
  • The commission says this year alone it has paid more than 200 million euros ($280 million) to help cover the Palestinian budget deficit
Argos Media

New government may face EU sanctions over two-state solution - Haaretz - Israel News - 0 views

  • At a closed-door dinner of European Union diplomats held Friday in the Czech Republic, several senior officials said Israel must be required to present an explicit commitment accepting the principle of "two states for two peoples," and if it fails, the process of upgrading Israel-EU relations should be frozen.
  • At least 10 communiques from Israeli embassies in Europe arrived at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem in recent days painting a difficult picture of the level of trust felt in Europe towards the Netanyahu government, particularly on diplomatic matters.
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    The dispatches all had the same message: The diplomats present at the dinner criticized Israel on its handling of negotiations with the Palestinians, settlement building, the destruction of homes in East Jerusalem and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
  • Among those expressing criticism were those generally viewed as supportive of Israel, including host Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg of the Czech Republic, whose country is the current EU president. Schwarzenberg summarized the meeting by saying, "There won't be any progress in relations between Israel and the European Union until the Israeli government clarifies its stance on the creation of a Palestinian state."
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  • After the dinner he told a Czech newspaper that a decision had been made to cancel a summit between the Israeli prime minister and EU leaders planned for late May or early June.
  • One communique expressed the impression of one guest at the dinner, who spoke of an atmosphere of "ganging up on Israel," and that terms were imposed "on a government that had not yet been formed."
  • The message also indicated that several ministers spoke of the "need to teach Israel a lesson about its treatment of the Palestinians."
  • The central issue discussed at the dinner was the future of Israel-EU relations. Many ministers demanded that Israel be presented with an ultimatum stating that an upgrade of those relations be carried out only with an Israeli government explicitly committing itself to the two-state solution.
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