The European Union’s (EU) top diplomat Josep Borrell has called the idea of Israel planning further illegal settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories “appalling” and Israel’s biggest security liability. He also called for an extension of the four day ceasefire due to expire after Monday (November 27).
“I’m appalled to learn that in the middle of a war, the Israeli gov is poised to commit new funds to build more illegal settlements,” Mr Borrell wrote on Monday (November 27), on X, formerly Twitter.
“This is not self-defence and will not make Israel safer,” Mr Borrell said, adding that the settlements were a grave breach of international humanitarian law and Israel’s greatest security liability.
Speaking at the Union for the Mediterranean conference in Barcelona on Monday (November 27), Mr Borrell referred to a figure of $43 million that he said Israel planned to use for building new settlements.
“The violence spread by extremist settlers in the West Bank, many times under protection from the Israeli police and military, does not make Israel safer,” he said.
The Foreign Minister said the “indiscriminate brutality” of Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7 could not be justified. However, he said the death toll in Gaza, which included more than 5,000 children , was “highly disproportionate”.
Extension of ceasefire
He described the four day Israel-Hamas ceasefire from November 24-27 as “an important first step”.
“The pause should be extended to make it sustainable and long-lasting while working for a political solution,” Mr Borrell said. The EU is the largest foreign aid donor to the Palestinian Territories.
The Barcelona meeting was attend by various foreign ministers from the EU, West Asia and North Africa, including the Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki. Israel was not represented at the meeting. Mr Borrell said he regretted Israel’s absence.