PARIS (Jun. 18)
The nine member states of the European Economic Community (EEC) accused Israel today of obstructing a global settlement of the Middle East conflict and declared its new settlements in the occupied Arab territories were “it legal under international law. ” The declaration, considered one of the toughest anti-Israel statements in recent years, was adopted unanimously by the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Belgium, Britain, Luxembourg, Ireland and Denmark after a day-long meeting here.
The joint declaration is not regarded by foreign diplomats as a recommendation but as a final act which does not need the approval of the nine chiefs of state and government who are due to meet in Strasbourg Thursday. France’s Foreign Minister; Jean-Francois Poncet stated at the end of the meeting, “This is it. This is a final act.”
Diplomatic sources said that only two countries–Holland and France–objected to the release of the declaration, Holland because of its traditional friendship with Israel and France for tactical reasons. Holland reportedly asked that the declaration be kept secret and relayed to the Israeli government through diplomatic channels. But both countries finally agreed to release the joint statement.
The main drive behind it came from West Germany, according to diplomats from the EEC countries. They said West Germany adopted a “tough and aggressive” position at the outset, calling for a halt to Israel’s new settlements and for a policy of compromise and understanding with the Arab states. The diplomats said the West German position apparently was to prepare the ground for Foreign Minister Hans Diettich Genscher’s forthcoming visit to several Arab states.
Israeli sources here said the joint declaration “Will make things tougher!” They stressed that, contrary to previous actions, Egypt did not come under attack. “All the pressure is now on Israel and Israel alone,” they said. They expressed fear that the declaration will encourage most of the other Arab states in their opposition to the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.