World Bulletin / News Desk
The European Union sharply criticised Israel on Monday over its plans to build illegal settlements in a highly sensitive part of the occupied West Bank.
World court ruled that Israeli settlements on the occupied land are illegal.
"The EU is deeply dismayed by and strongly opposes Israeli plans to expand settlements," foreign ministers of the 27 EU states said in a statement after meeting in Brussels.
"The EU will closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and act accordingly."
Sweden's foreign minister Carl Bildt said European governments were increasingly frustrated by the settlement policy.
"What the Israelis did ... has really shifted things inside the European Union to the extent that I don't think they really appreciate," Bildt said before the meeting.
France had wanted to include a warning in Monday's statement that construction in the sensitive parts of the West Bank would damage the relationship between Israel and the EU. The statement did not contain such a comment.
On Saturday, Khaled Meshaal, leader of the Islamist Hamas which rules Gaza, told a mass rally there he would never recognise 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.
U.N. General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians' status in the world body from "observer entity" to "non-member state".
The upgrade, approved overwhelmingly, fell short of full U.N. membership, which only the Security Council can grant.
After winning the U.N. status upgrade, the Palestinians can now access the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which prosecutes people for genocide, war crimes and other major human rights violations and where it could complain about Israel.
The decision to build in a key area east of Jerusalem, called E1, sparked a storm of diplomatic protest from Washington and Brussels as well as from U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.
E1 is a highly contentious area of the West Bank that runs between the easternmost edge of occupied east Jerusalem and the Maaleh Adumim settlement.
Palestinians bitterly oppose the E1 project, as it would effectively cut the occupied West Bank in two, north to south, and sever it from Jerusalem, and make the creation of a viable Palestinian state even more impossible.
Last Mod: 11 Aralık 2012, 12:47