European Union moving towards sanctions on Israel

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Megan Martin, Staff Writer

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The European Union is contemplating a variety of measures that would punish Israel for its occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to an internal European Union (EU) document obtained by an Israeli newspaper.

Among the measures proposed in the document are sanctions against European companies that do business in Israeli-occupied settlements. The document also calls on the EU to reconsider “funding or capacity-building activities indirectly helping to perpetuate the status quo of occupation” and urges “support, or non-opposition” for Palestinian moves like “applications to international organizations” and seeking recognition.

Overall, the document proposes that European leaders recognize Palestinian statehood, as more than 130 countries including Sweden, have done.

The EU intends to use the document as a means of advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Even though the document proposes punitive measures targeting Israel, it also leaves the door open to punishments for Palestinians in response to adverse actions.

“[T]he EU could continue to dissuade [the Palestinians] from moving ahead in the context of international organizations and use its leverage to that end,” the document says.

Additionally, the document suggests, “in line with the ‘more for more, less for less’ policy,” that the EU distribute more funds to Israel in exchange for Israeli actions that move the peace process forward.

Though drafted by the EU’s Political and Security Committee in Brussels, the drive for the acceptance of the proposals contained in the document was actually the intention of the state member leaders. It was written in response to concerns over the failure of the peace process and the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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