Representatives of Western European countries on Wednesday summoned Israeli ambassadors in their respective capitals to express their “deep and grave concern” over a vote by the Israeli government to expand settlements in the West Bank. The vote was narrowly approved on Tuesday evening, but was opposed by the United States.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini condemned the vote and told the ambassadors that it was part of a wider pattern of Israel’s occupation of territory “without the participation of the Palestinian people.” She reiterated an EU demand that Israeli settlement activity be halted as a pre-condition for a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
The High Representative confirmed her conviction that “the consensus of the international community – both the Quartet and the EU – is clear. Settlements must end, and Israel must make serious, meaningful progress on peace negotiations in the weeks and months ahead.”
Following the UN vote, the U.S. on Tuesday delivered a formal rebuke to Israel by withdrawing all funding from the UN body that was to oversee the coming elections. While the US has pledged to continue to pay its $350 million aid package to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cast doubt on the organisation’s credibility by urging diplomats to direct their support to those countries that stand against UN settlement expansion.
“The US will honour its commitments to UNRWA. We also call on all UN Member States to direct their contributions to those organizations, which represent the only path to a viable and peaceful two-state solution,” he said.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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