After Leaving Office Former European Leaders: Sanction Israel over Settlement Building

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10/12/2010 A group of 26 senior former European leaders who held power during the past decade are calling for strong measures against Israel in response to its settlement policy and refusal to abide by international law.

In an unusual letter sent Thursday to the leadership of the European Union and the governments of the EU’s 27 member states, the signatories, including former heads of state, ministers and heads of European organizations, criticize Israel’s policies.

Among those signing the letter are the former European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, former German President Richard von Weizsacker, former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzales, former president of the EU Commission and former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, and former Irish President Mary Robinson.

The European leaders are backing the Palestinians’ efforts to rally international support for the recognition of an independent Palestinian state as an alternative to the negotiations that have reached an impasse. They note that the Palestinians cannot expect to be able to set up an independent state without international political and economic assistance.

As such, they are calling on the European Union to play a more effective and active role vis-a-vis the United States, Israel and others. They also want it made clear that a European Union decision to upgrade relations with Israel and other bilateral agreements will be frozen unless Israel freezes settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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