Los Angeles Times reports on a new internal European Report that is highly critical of Israel’s settlement enterprise in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Times says the EU report calls the Israeli government’s settlement policies “the biggest single threat to the two-state solution.” And as the Financial Times reported on Thursday, that the same EU report recommends “curbing trade, investment and tourism in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.”
“Israel is actively perpetuating its illegal annexation of east Jerusalem by systematically undermining the Palestinian presence through restrictive zoning and planning,” the report says.
It’s unlikely the EU will officially boycott any settlement products however, as the Financial Times notes, “A UK official said there were no plans to introduce EU or domestic legislation to ban Israeli settlement products.”
According to the L.A. Times, the new EU report said that settlements and their expansion are “part of a political strategy aimed at making it impossible for Jerusalem to become the capital of two states.”
“We are disappointed by this report because rather than building bridges between parties, as diplomats should, the European Union consuls once again have issued a one-sided report that only serves to inflame the situation,” said David Siegel, Israeli consul general in Los Angeles.
But, the L.A. Times adds that Alon Ben-Meir, a professor of Middle East studies and conflict resolution at New York University, said that Israel is “building a garrison state,” referring to the settlement project and military forces deployed to protect them, adding that it “is isolating by its very nature.” “Israel needs to think how long this can be sustained. Can Israelis live another 50 years behind barbed wire and walls?” he asked.
In other news:
Secretary of State John Kerry upon his visit to Turkey plans to admonish Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan for his comments calling Zionism “a crime against humanity.” “It is in both Turkey’s and the United States’ interest to heal tensions between Israel and Turkey,” CAP’s Matt Duss and Michael Werz wrote on Thursday, “Prime Minister Erdogan’s incendiary remarks make that more difficult and act against Turkey’s long-term national interest.”
Wired’s Danger Room reports: Wearing his Army dress uniform, a composed, intense and articulate Pfc. Bradley Manning took “full responsibility” Thursday for providing the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks with a trove of classified and sensitive military, diplomatic and intelligence cables, videos and documents.
The New York Times reports: At some point on Friday (no one will say precisely when), President Obama will formally notify government agencies that an obscure process known as sequestration is in effect, triggering deep, across-the-board budget cuts that will force federal spending to shrink.