Britain says EU is not looking at Israel sanctions

LONDON (Reuters) British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday that European sanctions against Israel in response to its latest plans to build settlements on disputed land were not an option.

Nevertheless, he did inform the parliament that he and other European foreign ministers had begun to talk about formulating “incentives and disincentives” to support US efforts to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

Since the United Nations’ de facto recognition of Palestine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to expand settlement building. The area in question is essential for a contiguous Palestinian state as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. “I don’t think there is enthusiasm around the European Union … about economic sanctions in Europe on Israel. I don’t believe there would be anywhere near a consensus nor is that our approach. We continue to try to bring both sides back to negotiations,” Hague said.

Prospects of European sanctions on Israel were on Monday dismissed also by France. However, settlement building on land Israel captured in a 1967 war is considered illegal by most world powers and have routinely drawn condemnation from them.

Hague added: “Nevertheless, if there is no reversal of the decision that has been announced, we will want to consider what further steps European countries should take”.

Source: Ma’an News Agency