EU condemns ‘settlement activities’


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The European Union condemned Israel for "all the settlement activities," including building in eastern Jerusalem.

"We ask for a total freeze of settlement activity. We will pursue this policy," Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said during a meeting of EU foreign ministers Monday in Brussels. Spain currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

The EU, Israel’s largest trading partner, has so far ruled out implementing trade sanctions to convince Israel to halt construction in settlements, which it says includes eastern Jerusalem.

The foreign ministers of Germany, Finland, Lithuania and Malta were scheduled to meet individually with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on the sidelines of the Brussels meeting. A meeting of a joint EU-Israel committee was postponed; the reasons given were that it was impossible to schedule and that Lieberman had met last week with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Israel.

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