JERUSALEM (JTA) — European Union foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels slammed Israel for threatening the viability of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Their three-page statement released Monday condemned the increased growth of settlement building, and the eviction of Palestinians and demolition of their homes in eastern Jerusalem. It also expressed concern over settler violence.
"The viability of a two-state-solution must be maintained," the statement said. "The EU expresses deep concern about developments on the ground which threaten to make a two-state solution impossible."
The statement also indicated that the EU reiterates its "fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, including with regard to vital threats in the region. The EU is appalled by recurring rocket attacks from Gaza and condemns in the strongest terms violence deliberately targeting civilians." It also called for the prevention of arms smuggling into Gaza.
It also expressed concern about recent reports of the arrests of journalists by the Palestinian Authority and for "recent incidents of incitement in Palestinian media and elsewhere."
In its response to the statement, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that "The conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on the Middle East Peace Process do not contribute to advancing the peace process."
The statement’s accusations, the ministry said, "include a long list of claims and criticism that are based on a partial, biased and one-sided depiction of realities on the ground. Such a public presentation does not contribute to advance the process.