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France, Spain, Italy Launch BDS 'Settlement' Warnings

European nations advise their citizens to refrain from conducting business with 'settlements,' condemn IDF operation.
By Tova Dvorin, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 6/27/2014, 11:30 AM / Last Update: 6/27/2014, 12:45 PM

BDS in France (illustration)
BDS in France (illustration)
Reuters

Both Spain and Italy published advisories on Friday warning their citizens against doing business with "settlements," just days after a similar advisory was published in the French-language section of the French Foreign Ministry website. 

The advisories warned against business in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and Jerusalem, all areas liberated from Jordanian and Syrian occupation in the 1967 Six Day War.

The warnings claim Israel's presence in the area is "unrecognized under international law," and therefore "legal and financial risks" are posed to businesses and individuals doing business with Israel in the region, either by investing, transferring money, signing contracts, purchasing land or receiving tourist services.

"The current situation could cause disputes over land, water, minerals or natural resources that funds were invested in," warned the Spanish advisory.

The Spanish foreign ministry told the Spanish news agency EFE that the warning is not a "sanction" or "boycott" against Israel, but rather an effort to follow EU decisions and follow the model of England, France and Germany.

"We have no intention to harm business or cooperation with Israel in the internationally recognized borders," read the statement, indicating the 1949 Armistice lines.

The move comes after the French Foreign Ministry stated earlier this week: "due to the fact that the settlements are illegal in international law, the performance of financial transactions in the settlements - e.g. money transfers, investments, acquisition of property, provision of supplies or the performance of any [other] economic activities that benefit the settlements involves risks."

The site alleged a “a high likelihood of land disputes or disagreements regarding water, quarries or other natural resources."

“We call upon citizens or businesspeople who are considering becoming involved in economic activity in the settlements to seek appropriate legal advice before going ahead," it adds. 

The warnings bring to mind similar statements by the British government last December. However, the 2012 Levy Report found that Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria is completely legal according to international law.

Israel's Foreign Ministry responded Friday that it would not be issuing a condemnation of the report, citing a lack of legal standing over the issue, Yedioth Aharonoth reported.

"This shows that Europe does not have a flattering view to settlements, but the statement itself is very limited, and there will be no penalties [over them]," a foreign ministry official said.

Responding to "Palestinian Pressure" Requests

The BDS warning by Italy comes a day after Fatah-Hamas unity government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met with the President of the Italian Senate, Pietro Grasso, on Thursday.

The Arab news site Wafa reports that Hamdallah called on Grasso and the Italian delegates with him to "pressure Israel and encourage the international community to force Israel to lift its unjust siege on the Gaza Strip."

Hamdallah similarly claimed that Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria "harms" the PA's economy.

Likewise, Wafa reported that the Spanish Foreign Ministry on Thursday expressed "concerns" about the IDF Operation Brother's Keeper to rescue the three Israeli teens abducted by Hamas terrorists two weeks ago.

Reportedly the Spanish ministry called on Israel to "exercise self-restraint," and called for a return of negotiations.

The statement noted the Arab rioters killed in the course of the operation as they were involved in attacks on the IDF forces, saying "there should be no more loss of human life.”