12 more EU states warn on Israeli settlement dealings

12 more EU states warn on Israeli settlement dealings
Sat Jul 5, 2014 10:54:29

Amid the heightening Palestine-Israeli tensions, 12 more European Union states have joined European heavyweights - such as the UK, Germany and France - in urging their nationals to avoid doing business in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The countries that issued warnings to their citizens against business dealings in illegal Israeli settlements includes Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

The European nations stated that Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East al-Quds (Jerusalem), Gaza and the Golan Heights are illegal and hamper a peaceful settlement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Involvement in business activities in the area carries both financial and reputational risks for investors, they warned.

The European states also pointed out that the EU “will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to al-Quds, other than those agreed by the parties”.

According to Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements as well as other economic activities (including in services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements, entail legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the Israeli settlements, according to international law, are built on occupied land and are not recognized as a legitimate part of Israel's territory”.

“This may result in disputed titles to the land, water, mineral or other natural resources which might be the subject of purchase or investment,” the ministry said, adding that in case of disputes “it could be very difficult for Member States to ensure national protection of their interests”.

So far, 17 European countries have issued such advice to their citizens. Earlier this week, France, Italy, and Spain published their communiqués; Germany and the UK did so several months ago.

The Israeli regime’s settlement policy has been among key stumbling blocks in the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Despite increasing international criticism over the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, the Tel-Aviv regime announced plans on June to build 1,500 more settlement units in the area.

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