BRUSSELS (Jun. 24)
In a new move that might further strain relations between Europe and Israel, the European Community has decided to set up an ad hoc commission that will report regularly on conditions in the administered territories.
The decision, which will be put into effect this fall, was made last week at a meeting in Luxembourg, where the 12 foreign ministers of the E.C. had gathered for their regular session.
The move followed a tough resolution passed June 14 in Strasbourg, France, at a meeting of the E.C. Executive Commission, which condemned Israel for “its bloody repression of Palestinian civilians and its repeated violations of human rights in the occupied territories.”
At that meeting, Abel Matutes, E.C. commissioner for Mediterranean affairs, warned Israel that failure to find a peaceful solution to the turmoil in the territories could result in economic sanctions against it.
At last week’s meeting in Luxembourg, no European minister made any objection to the decision to establish E.C. representation in the territories, Matutes said. He explained that such a representation would be aimed at monitoring and improving the administration of E.C. aid to the Palestinians in the territories.
The E.C. is providing economic aid there in the areas of health and education. That aid is to be doubled from $7 million this year to $14 million within the next three years.
The E.C. representation in the territories will not have the diplomatic status that such commissions enjoy in several nations.
The E.C. is represented in Israel by a delegation in Tel Aviv, whose chief, Gwyn Morgan, has the rank of ambassador.