Photo: Reuters
A settlement at the West Bank
Photo: Reuters

Top EU envoy slams land grab, warns of renewed Gaza violence

Lars Faaborg-Andersen urges sides to resume Gaza talks to find long lasting political solution for Strip, says that despite anger at West Bank land appropriation by Israel, EU was not mulling sanctions.

Europe's top diplomat in Israel has urged the government reverse its decision to recognize some 1,000 acres of the West Bank as State land, even though he stressed that the EU was not considering sanctions over the issue.


He also warned that the lack of a long term political solution, violence in Gaza could start anew



Wednesday's remarks by Lars Faaborg-Andersen came two weeks after Israel announced the move, which garnered criticism from US and Palestinian officials, who see it as expropriation which undermines prospects for a peaceful land-for-peace solution to the conflict.


Faaborg-Andersen told journalists in Jerusalem that the expropriation is "one of the worst signals to send in the current situation."


West Bank Settlement (Photo: AFP)
West Bank Settlement (Photo: AFP)

He said that even if Israel refused to reverse it, economic sanctions are not "on the agenda now."


Regarding the situation in Gaza, Faaborg-Andersen urged for a long term political solution which would see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority governing the Strip, or at least its rehabilitation.


"There is a need to go back to the Cairo talks as soon as possible," Faaborg-Andersen said.


West Bank settlement (Photo: Amir Levi) (צילום: אמיר לוי)
West Bank settlement (Photo: Amir Levi)


"If the situation in Gaza goes unaddressed there is a big potential for violence to resume. We must not return to the status quo," he said, adding that "We need to see a return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza in order to lead the reconstruction efforts. We don't want to go back to instability within a few months."


John Gatt-Rutter, the EU's envoy to the West Bank and Gaza recalled his visit to Gaza, and said that after meeting with local officials the feeling was that "there is great despair and fear that the violence resume. Nothing has changed in the situation in Gaza and life there only got worse."


He noted extensive damage to water and electricity infrastructure, and said Gaza's residents are looking for a change and want to feel that the world has not forgotten them. Gatt-Rutter there is anger at both Hamas and Abbas, as well as at Israel.


The Associated Press contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 09.10.14, 17:28
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