“Sanctions against third countries, individuals or entities, are an essential EU foreign policy tool that it uses to pursue objectives in accordance with the principles of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. (…) In general terms, the EU imposes its restrictive measures to bring about a change in policy or activity by the target country, part of a country, government, entities or individuals. (…) The political objectives and criteria of the restrictive measures should be clearly defined in the legal acts.”
Defining political objectives, measures and legal acts seems to be (un)likely. In the shadow of the events marking the likely start of a third intifada (or something similar) in Jerusalem, there are more and more articles reporting about the ‘red lines’ the EU wants to define. A confidential document – being prepared and distributed in at least 28 copies – discussed the hard-liner ‘restrictive’ actions the EU would take if Israel continues to build settlements especially in the E1 area. The potential proposed measures can be listed as follows: recalling the EU ambassador, restricting free-trade agreements between the EU and Israel, limiting cooperation with Israel in general, and/or marking products manufactured in the settlements for sale in EU supermarkets.
The EU’s official position has remained unchanged. The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has denied the claims, saying that the EU has no intention of imposing any sanctions, on the contrary: ‘the core of our worries and of our efforts is and will be not to react to negative steps, but to engage in positive processes ‘, EEAS Press Release, remarks by High Representative, Federica Mogherini, Brussels, 17/11/2014, Q&A section: Il n’y a pas de plan de ce type. J’ai vu un article d’Haaretz qui fait référence à un document de travail et le publie. Il s’agit apparemment d’un document de travail interne demandé par les États membres il y a quelques temps, je dirais durant le mandat qui a précédé le mien, mais qui ne forme qu’une hypothèse de travail technique. Ce n’était pas sur la table des ministres aujourd’hui.).
The situation on the ground has also remained unchanged (or if changed, then to the worse). I would not be surprised if Israel would somehow ‘sanction’ the EU development projects in the Palestinian Territories, if the EU went too far in ‘discussing’ restrictive measures. The EU leadership seems to be aware of it. The philosophical question is whether it reflects on its wisdom or incompetence?
Sources: Christopher Harres, ‘European Union Gears Up For Sanctions Against Israel Over Settlements‘, International Business News, 17 November, 2014; Barak Ravid, ‘EU document suggests recalling envoys if Israeli settlements threaten two-state solution‘, Haaretz, 17 November, 2014; Forward, ‘Europe Insists No Plans for Anti-Israel Sanctions‘, The Forward, 17 November, 2014; i24news, ‘EU ‘deplores’ Israeli settlement plans but says no sanctions‘, 17 November, 2014;