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William Hague: No EU Sanctions against Israel

British foreign minister sees no "enthusiasm" in the EU for imposing economic sanctions over new housing.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/4/2012, 9:05 PM

William Hague and Binyamin Netanyahu
William Hague and Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

Britain said Tuesday the EU was unlikely to punish Israel by imposing trade sanctions, although top diplomats in the 27-nation bloc are expected to discuss further steps at a top-level meeting on Monday, according to AFP.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said there did not appear to be any "enthusiasm" in the EU for any move to impose economic sanctions on Israel over its E1 development plans.

"I don't believe there would be anywhere near a consensus," he told parliament. "Nevertheless if there is no reversal... we will want to consider what further steps European countries should take."

Egypt and Australia on Tuesday joined a growing list of countries who have taken the rare step of summoning the Israeli ambassador to express a formal protest over plans to build new homes in E1.

The EU ambassador to Israel, Andrew Standley, said Israel has shown no sign it was planning to call off its construction plans.

"We've not had any signal or message back, for the time being, to indicate that this message has been heard and has been acted upon," he said.

"There have been in fact, to the contrary, further messages or announcements saying Israel will act upon what it considers to be its strategic interests, which may suggest that if it sees more measures as necessary it will take more measures," he said.

"This is not what we are asking for."

But he refused to say whether the bloc would take further measures to sanction Israel, saying its foreign ministers were to discuss the matter on Monday at a meeting in Brussels.