Press Statement by the European Union members of the Security Council on Israeli settlements

Dec 19, 2012

Press Statement by the European Union members of the Security Council on Israeli settlements, following a Security Council meeting on the Middle East


"We have just heard a briefing from Mr Jeffrey Feltman about the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territories. The current stalemate in the Peace Process is a source of great concern to us.

France, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom underscore that sustainable peace will only be achieved through a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State  of Palestine living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition.

France, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom are extremely concerned by and strongly oppose the plans by Israel to expand settlement construction in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and in particular plans to develop the E1 area. If implemented, these plans would jeopardize the possibility of a contiguous, sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian State and of Jerusalem as the future capital of both Israel and Palestine. The reported planning in the E1 area would risk cutting off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and could  also entail the forced transfer of civilian population.

We are also deeply disappointed by 17th December announcement regarding the approval of 1500 housing units in the East Jerusalem district of Ramat Shlomo and today's announcement of 2610 housing units in Givat Hamatos. We are also concerned about reports of an additional 1000 housing units over the Green Line, including in Har Home and Givat Ze'ev, being tendered.

Israel's announcements to accelerate the construction of settlements send a negative message and are undermining faith in its willingness to negotiate.

The viability of the two-state solution, that is key for Israel's long-term security is threatened by the systematic expansion of settlements.  Settlements are illegal under international law and detrimental to any international efforts to restart peace negotiations and secure a  two-state solution. All settlement activity, including in East Jerusalem, must cease immediately.

We call on the Israeli government to rescind these plans and recall that we will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.

The viability of the two-state solution is at stake and must be preserved. A bold demonstration of political will and leadership is needed from both sides to break the current impasse and resume negotiations. To make urgent progress towards the shared goal of a two state solution, parties must engage in direct and substantial negotiations without pre-conditions.

All parties must avoid unilateral acts which undermine confidence and the viability of the two-state solution. We call on Israel to avoid any step undermining the financial situation on the Palestinian authority. Any such action by Israel would undermine existing cooperation  mechanisms between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and thus negatively affect the prospects of negotiations. We also call on the Palestinian leadership to use constructively their new status within the UN with the view to early resumption of direct and meaningful  negotiations.

France, Germany, Portugal and the UK welcome that President Abbas has publicly rejected the recent inflammatory statements by Hamas  leaders that deny Israel's right to exist, and that he has stated clearly the position of the legitimate Palestinian leadership which has accepted the State of Israel in the borders of 1967.France, Germany, Portugal and the UK reiterate their fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, including with regard to vital threats in the region. 

But the responsibility lies also with the international community, and notably the Security Council, to provide urgently for a credible framework for the resumption of direct talks. We remain ready to contribute to renewed, structured and substantial peace efforts, together with the US, members of the Quartet and other international and regional stakeholders, and reaffirm our position that clear parameters  outlining the basis for negotiations, as stated in our E4 December 2011 press statement and set out by the European Union in December 2009, December 2010 and May 2011, are key to such an outcome.

We believe that Israel's security and the realization of the Palestinians' right to statehood are not opposing goals. On the contrary they are mutually reinforcing objectives. But they will not be achieved while settlement building continues. The only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ending all claims, is one that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and that fulfils the aspiration of both parties towards the shared goal of a two-state solution."

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