EU Lawmakers Urge Strict Enforcement of Settlement Guidelines

STRASBOURG, November 21, 2013 (WAFA) – European parliamentarians of various political groups Thursday wrote European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urging strict enforcement of the EU guidelines regarding Israeli settlements.

The letter, signed by 114 members of the European Parliament, said they have “certain serious concerns regarding the arrangements about to be concluded that will determine the terms of Israel’s participation in a range of EU programs, including Horizon 2020.”

The lawmakers called on Ashton “to take the steps that remain necessary to ensure that no form of EU-funded support is provided to Israeli entities established in the settlements, which are illegal under international law, or to activities or operations of Israeli entities taking place in those settlements under any of these programs.”

They said that the guidelines published by the European Commission on July 19 “should apply to all these programs, current and future.”

The EU guidelines are supposed to go into effect on January 1. Israel and the United States have joined in putting pressure on the EU to postpone or cancel these guidelines or at least water them down to a point many loopholes would deem them ineffective.

The letter stressed that because settlements violate international law, “no EU-funded support of any kind may be provided to Israeli entities established in Israeli settlements or to settlement-based activities.”

The parliament members insisted that “all of the eligibility criteria set out in the Guidelines must therefore be strictly implemented in their entirety – in the work programs, financing decisions, calls for proposals, rules of contests, and calls for the selection of financial intermediaries or dedicated investment vehicles.”