EU 'should block finance for Israeli settlements'

'Radical action' urged to tackle illegal expansion in Jerusalem

Jerusalem

The European Commission should consider passing legislation to prevent finance generated within its member states being used to support illegal Israeli settlements in occupied territory, the bloc's top diplomats in Jerusalem and Ramallah have advised.

The proposal is made in a report warning that a new surge in Jewish settlement expansion in Arab East Jerusalem, among other policies, is "systematically undermining the Palestinian presence" in the city and making the prospect of it becoming the shared capital of two states "increasingly unlikely and unworkable".

The report argues that "attempts to emphasise the Jewish identity of the city at the expense of Muslim and Christian residents" – including outsourcing archaeology in sensitive sites close to the Old City to a powerful settler group, Elad – "threaten its religious diversity and provide fuel to those want further to radicalise the conflict with regional and global repercussions".

It makes an urgent call for the EU to adopt a more "active and visible" implementation of its policy. And it paints a bleak picture of how Israel is "perpetuating" its unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem after the 1967 war – a move never accepted as legal by European governments – in ways that are "increasingly undermining the two-state solution".

The report points out that 10 per cent of the city's resources are spent on services for Palestinians, who represent 37 per cent of the population. There are 200 planning permissions granted to Palestinians per year compared with the 1,500 they need, it adds, with a consequent wave of house demolitions. Up to 90,000 people live under threat of having their homes demolished.

The potentially radical proposal for "appropriate EU legislation to prevent/discourage financial transactions in support of settlement activity" is the first indication that some member states are seeking European divestment from businesses actively involved in the settlement enterprise.

The finance recommendation has been worded with deliberate vagueness to maintain a consensus among sharply differing views within the EU. But the clear implication is that some of the European Consuls General – ambassador-rank representatives to the Palestinians – want the Commission to consider for the first time whether it has an obligation to legislate on the grounds that the settlements contravene international law.

Under one interpretation of the proposal, the Commission would use legislation to force companies in Europe to break their links with businesses involved in settlement construction and commercial activities. This follows some high-profile voluntary examples like that of Deutsche Bahn, which last year pulled out of electrification of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem rail link because it cut through the West Bank.

The report also says the Jerusalem municipality is failing in its obligation to provide schooling for all Palestinian children, with less than half now attending municipal schools.

Asaf Sharon, a member of the Israeli group Solidarity, which has been active in opposing evictions and demolitions in the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem, said he was struck by the urgency with which the European diplomats regarded the situation in Jerusalem, compared with a lack of a similar sense in Israel itself. "I hope EU would act on the report's conclusions," he said. "Now they have to be proactive for all our sakes."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas