EU Chief: Agreements with Israel do not apply to Occupied Areas

RAMALLAH, March 12, 2013 (WAFA) – All agreements the European Union (EU) has signed with Israel do not apply to the occupied territories, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said in a letter sent last week to Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee member.

Ashton was responding to a letter Ashrawi had sent her in December on Israel’s violations of international law through intensifying settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The EU official, said a statement by Ashrawi’s office, stressed that she will “follow up on the effective implementation of all commitments and decisions taken by the EU and its Member States.”

She also stated that “the Union is now actively engaged in the process of ensuring that – in line with international law – all agreements between the State of Israel and the European Union must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”

She said that “the European Union and its Member States have also reiterated their commitment to ensure the continued, full and effective implementation of existing European Union legislation and bilateral agreements applicable to settlement products.”

Ashrawi welcomed the letter and “called on the EU and its member states to force Israel to end its illegal occupation of Palestine and to employ tangible measures and concrete steps to guarantee accountability in order to prevent Israel from plunging the whole region into volatility and violence.”

Source: WAFA News