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EU Stance on Settlements Pleases Palestinians

Palestinian efforts to obtain support from the European Union bore fruit this week with the adoption of economic sanctions against the settlements.
Palestinian labourers work on the construction of a synagogue as an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks past in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beitar Ilit, near Bethlehem March 18, 2013. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new governing coalition prepared to take office after a parliamentary vote on Monday with powerful roles reserved for supporters of settlers in occupied territory. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (WEST BANK - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS CONSTRUCTION RELIGION) - RTR3F5G0
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US Secretary of State John Kerry is making efforts to renew negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and declared in Amman on July 17 that certain progress has been made by the parties. Even before this declaration on negotiations, the Palestinians registered yet another achievement, and they are pleased. Very pleased. The target was well defined, the direction clear, and the results followed apace. All of Europe is against the settlements. The European Union has decided to demarcate the Israel-Palestine border, distinguishing between Israel within the Green Line and Israel of the settlements. In fact, it is imposing significant economic sanctions on Israel, at least until it gets back to serious negotiations.

Europe was first marked as a target more than two years ago, when Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and senior Palestinian officials, including Saeb Erekat, Yasser Abed Rabbo, Hanan Ashrawi and then-prime minister Salam Fayyad, discovered much to their chagrin that the United States had decided to impose a veto on a proposal to admit the Palestinians to the United Nations as the organization’s 194th member state. At the time, all of Abu Mazen’s efforts had been to no avail in explaining to then-secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton that the move at the United Nations was being taken out of sheer desperation and disappointment over the absence of a diplomatic process. The same held for his promise to put the move on hold if negotiations were renewed.

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