Ex-officials urge EU not to give in to Israeli, US requests

File photo shows a settlement construction site in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

File photo shows a settlement construction site in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
PressTV | Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:22AM GMT

Fifteen former high-ranking EU officials and politicians have urged the Union not to give in to Israeli and US requests to modify new rules on funding projects in settlements built on Palestinian territories.

In a letter sent on Monday to EU Foreign Relations Chief Catherine Ashton and to the 28 EU foreign ministers, the dignitaries said the Israeli regime’s claims that the rules would harm peace negotiations are untrue.

The authors of the letter include four former EU foreign relations chiefs: Javier Solana, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Hans van den Broek and Frans Andriessen.

The dignitaries also said that the guidelines are the least effort that the EU can do “to prevent its taxpayers’ money from being used to support activities in settlements.”

The group also pointed out that the rules helped to give the Palestinians the confidence to resume the talks.

“Their strict application serves to re-iterate that the EU does not recognize and will not support settlements and other illegal facts on the ground … which threaten to make a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible,” read the letter.

It continued, “A delay or suspension of the guidelines … would undermine the negotiations by alienating the Palestinians and by reinforcing Israel’s intransigence,” and added, “It would [also] damage the EU’s credibility and erode its vital foundations as a law-based community.”

The letter comes, as there have been calls by the Israeli regime and the US to cancel or delay the new European Commission guidelines published in July, which bans all 28-member states from using any EU funds for projects in Israel’s illegal settlements.

In addition, from 2014 all bilateral contracts must include a clause stating that East Jerusalem al-Quds, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Golan Heights are not a part of Israel.

The Israeli regime has abandon its aim to abolish the rules, however, it says it will not join EU projects, such as Horizon 2020, unless the Union sets up agreements which do not force Tel Aviv to acknowledge the borders recognized by the EU and the United Nations.

Other authors of the letter include former Spanish foreign minister and EU special envoy on the peace process Miguel Moratinos, France’s ex-foreign minister, Hubert Vedrine, UK’s ex-Ambassador to the UN, Jeremy Greenstock, as well as eight other dignitaries.

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