The Independent

January 18, 2012

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”.

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