William Hague
Photo: EPA
Britain says EU not looking at Israel sanctions
Foreign Secretary Hague says European sanctions against Israel not an option but remarks that EU ministers discussing possible steps in case construction goes ahead

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.


However, he told parliament that he was in talks with other European foreign ministers about formulating "incentives and disincentives" to support US efforts to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.


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"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 told parliament.


"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," he said.


Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian official warned that the West Bank government will pursue war crime charges against Israel if it doesn't stop settlement construction.


Israel announced a major settlement construction push after the UN General Assembly recognized a de facto Palestinian state.


Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said late Monday that "many countries" have urged the Palestinian Authority not to use its new status to seek war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court, a UN body.


Shaath says that "by continuing these war crimes of settlement activities" on occupied territories, Israel is "pushing and forcing us to go to the ICC."


Reuters and AP contributed to this report




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