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EU, Russia condemn Israeli settlement expansion plans
Published Friday 21/12/2012 (updated) 24/12/2012 12:33
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A protester holds the Palestinian flag with the Jewish settlement of
Halamish seen in the background during clashes between stone-throwing
protesters and Israeli soldiers in Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah on Dec. 21.
(Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- The European Union and Russia on Friday denounced Israel's plans to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank and urged Israelis and Palestinians to take "bold and concrete steps towards peace".

Israeli officials said this week they would press on with plans to build 6,000 homes for settlers on land claimed by Palestinians, defying criticism from Western powers who fear the move will damage already faint hopes for a peace accord.

"The European Union and the Russian Federation are deeply dismayed by and strongly oppose Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank and in particular plans to develop the E1 area," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

E1 is a wedge of land between East Jerusalem and the West Bank where Israel had previously held off under US pressure.

"The EU and the Russian Federation underline the urgency of renewed, structured and substantial peace efforts in 2013," said the joint statement after an EU-Russia summit in Brussels.

Stung by de facto recognition of Palestinian sovereignty by the UN General Assembly last month, Israel announced it would expand settlements in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem.

The EU and Russia, which together with the United States and the United Nations make up the Quartet of Middle East mediators, said the settlements were illegal under international law and were an obstacle to peace.

"The EU and the Russian Federation will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties," they said.

It was time to take "bold and concrete steps towards peace between Palestinians and Israelis", they said, calling for "direct and substantial negotiations without preconditions".

The EU and Russia called for the unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip, and urged Israel to avoid any step that would undermine the financial situation of the Palestinian Authority.

They urged the Palestinian leadership to use Palestine's new UN status constructively and avoid steps that would deepen lack of trust and lead further away from a negotiated solution.
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1 ) Crimshaw / US
21/12/2012 18:12
Expected response by EU and ex-Soviets. Yawn!

2 ) Tobias / USA
21/12/2012 20:55
Russian, EU, and UN condemnations of Israeli policy
have become like a broken record, that Israel will ignore.

3 ) The Lion of / Zion
21/12/2012 23:01
"The European Union and Russia on Friday denounced Israel's plans to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank and urged Israelis and Palestinians to take "bold and concrete steps towards peace".

Yawn...Yes OK...Right after Russia makes peace with Chechnya and Georgia, and the EU gets its sticky little NATO fingers out of Syria and Libya.


4 ) Reader / from Edmonton
22/12/2012 00:57
Will it take an outside agent standing between the Palestinians and Israelis to bring about a resolution? Two legal states exist, both within the former Palestine, within separate borders. Israel's legal borders are as defined by Resolution 181, and Palestine has agreed to temporary borders based on the pre-1967 armistice with final borders determined through negotiation somewhere within the remaining former Palestine. But first, the invading force must return to its legal borders.

5 ) Joe Hill / Belgium
22/12/2012 02:00
Big deal. Lol

6 ) gabi / australia
22/12/2012 04:17
Tobias - you are right. Israel will ignore condemnations. UNLESS your country stops funding them How much is it again each year? 3 billion? 4 billion? Oh but that's OK because a lot of it is armaments and the arms manufacturers get rich, sorry, richer, that way.

7 ) mbahouh / was in dubai
22/12/2012 16:12
Bibi was waiting to get this golden seal of approval

8 ) @stupid zionazi trash / USA
22/12/2012 17:51
the world has told you to stop the squats and get the hell out od palestine...can you survive w/o your US welfare check? how about US veto at UNSC? i am sure the EU and russia have more great ideas to increase your pain and make you leave....why wait..poland is a better choice

9 ) Mel / USA
22/12/2012 18:33
UK,Eurasian(WW2)allies know the pro-Zionist USG'Emperor'has NO CLOTHES!They've got to rethink the"company they keep"B4 they SINK with it! EU/UK NatSec.& economy is on the brink,after adopting 'General'D.C.'s war-policies,& selective empathy for Zionism.Plus,NATO broke its promise to ally Russia("not push East")& USG is STILL arrogantly GEO-GREEDY!That's all fatal 4 UK/Eurasia!And those"ex-Soviets"sacrificed SO MUCH,in WW2,to break the Nazi spine in E/Europe,keepingUK/EU AFLOAT! LOOK EAST GUYS!

10 ) Colin Wright / USA
23/12/2012 02:00
To Tobias #2 'Russian, EU, and UN condemnations of Israeli policy have become like a broken record, that Israel will ignore.' Fortunately! Just ignore the sounds of the waterfall! It isn't there! Full speed ahead! I'm with you all the way...even bought some popcorn. This is going to be fun...if a tad protracted.
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