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Europe Urges Sanctions Against Israel

The EU has recommended sanctions against Israel over its construction and security policies in Jerusalem. 

The report describes Jerusalem as a city gripped by “polarisation and violence”. 

Jpost.com reports:

The document, which is an amalgamation of recommendations prepared by European diplomats stationed in the region, accuses the Israeli government of exacerbating tensions in the city by accelerating construction in the contest eastern part of the capital.

According to the Guardian, the city has been beset by a “vicious cycle of violence … increasingly threatening the viability of the two-state solution.” The report goes on to say that Israel’s “systematic” construction of housing in “sensitive areas” has compounded the problem.

The EU report also takes Israel to task for what it describes as “heavy-handed policing and punitive measures” against Palestinians in the city, “including eviction and home demolitions by Israeli forces.”

More significantly, the document prescribes a series of measures aimed at curbing the distribution and sale of products manufactured beyond the 1967 Green Line.

The report urges restrictions against “known violent settlers and those calling for acts of violence as regards immigration regulations in EU member states.”

European government are also encouraged to label settler products while also warning EU businesses of the perils of engaging in trade with Israeli firms stationed in the territories.

News of the report emerged just days after Netanyahu’s victory. The prime minister’s re-election has brought with it a flurry of speculation regarding the international community’s anticipated response to his government’s refusal to halt construction in disputed areas as well as its stance on negotiations with the Palestinians.

Jerusalem is “one of the most emotive and problematic issues,” the report says, adding, “The tensions, mistrust and violence which have accompanied developments in the city in the course of the year have reached extremely high levels.”

“These developments are increasingly threatening the viability of the two-state solution and, in turn, risk precipitating further levels of polarization and violence.”

The capital bore witness to a spate of terrorist incidents in which Palestinians rammed vehicles into unsuspecting Jewish passersby. There was also tension surrounding access of worshippers to Temple Mount, which the EU blames on extremist agitation on both sides.

“2014 has been distinguished by a number of specific, disturbing and often violent developments,” the report states.

The EU denounced “heavy-handed tactics by Israeli police” while warning that failure to address the root causes of the conflict would bring about “further escalation and extreme polarization.”

“These incidents have occurred against the background of the systematic increase in settlement activity, tensions over the Haram al-Sharif and rising levels of tensions and acts of violence on both sides,” the EU report states.

An Israeli government spokesperson told the Guardian that “this is so extremely one sided a report that it distorts reality beyond comprehension.”