EU not to fund Israel occupation for ever, Norway warns

Israeli refusal to stop settlements, world court ruled illegal, has stalled peace talks in September just weeks after they were renewed in Washington.

EU not to fund Israel occupation for ever, Norway warns

European nations may end aid to Palestinians not to lead funding Israeli occupation if stalled peace talks fail to get going again, Norway's foreign minister was quoted as saying on Friday.

Europe has handed over an average 300 million euros each year over the past 17 years to Palestinian projects, helping keep the local economy afloat and easing social tensions.

Norway's Jonas Gahr Store told the Jerusalem Post that this aid was intended to help Palestinians build the infrastructure for a future state in land Israel occupied in 1967.

"If that vision for some reason completely collapses or reaches a dead end, that argument will be challenged and we will keep hearing questions like why are we continuing to fund an (Israeli) occupation," Store said.

Store suggested that unless negotiations aimed at establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel were resumed in a matter of months, Palestinians may win enough support to declare statehood in the occupied West Bank.

So far seven South American countries have recognised Palestinian statehood since the negotiations broke down, the latest of them being Guyana on Thursday.

Europe still preferred a negotiated settlement, Store said.

"But if that process will enter a dead end, then I guess the climate can change throughout Europe, and we already see tendencies in that direction," he added, referring to growing criticism of Israeli settlement buildings on occupied lands.

EU diplomats joined Washington this week in criticising Israel's recent demolition of historic hotel and Palestinian buildings in East Jerusalem to build buildings for settlers.

In a statement on Friday, Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights, protested the deaths of four Palestinian civilians this month in confrontations with Israeli troops, and Israel's razing of an historic hotel.

"Together these events demonstrate a general and unacceptable Israeli dispositon to use excessive force against Palestinians," Falk said.

"It is time for the international community to step in and offer this long vulnerable Palestinian population protection against the violence perpetrated by Israeli authorities."

Israeli refusal to stop settlements, world court ruled illegal, has stalled peace talks in September just weeks after they were renewed in Washington. There is no sign that the Israeli may end ongoing settlements, US and EU repeatedly condemned, to reume peace talks anytime soon.


Agencies

Last Mod: 14 Ocak 2011, 15:59
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