The EU Ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, on Monday blasted the so-called “Regulation Law”, which was approved on Sunday by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation and which would normalize the status of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria whose status is problematic.
If passed by the Knesset, the law will normalize towns built on non-government land which received government support and infrastructure, but lacked a formal building plan at the outset, as is often the case in new Israeli communities on both sides of the pre-1967 borders.
“The EU is concerned about the Regulation Law and other actions that will retroactively transfer rights to the illegal settlements,” Faaborg-Andersen told reporters in Jerusalem, according to the Hebrew-language NRG news website.
The law, claimed the EU envoy, “will create great resentment in the international community and could be a step toward chaos in the Palestinian Authority. The Regulation Law does not concern only Amona. It is a big step backwards.”
“The settlements are a huge obstacle to peace,” he continued. “Our position has not changed despite the statements from [Donald] Trump during the presidential election. The settlements are tearing the West Bank apart and it will be difficult to turn back the clock.”
The EU Ambassador also addressed the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which have been frozen since 2014, when an American initiative failed after the PA breached the conditions of the talks by applying to join international institutions.
“You have proven repeatedly that you are not able to reach an agreement. We cannot wait forever; if you are not able to solve the problem, we'll help you,” he said.
“We do not believe there will be peace talks in the near future. We are concerned about the two-state solution dissolving. It is clear that the other side has to come to an agreement as well, but Israel should stop undermining the two-state solution,” added Faaborg-Andersen.
The EU Ambassador is not alone in his criticism of the Regulation Law. The State Department also expressed concern over the law on Monday.
“We are deeply concerned about the advancement of legislation that would allow for the legalization of illegal Israeli outposts located on private Palestinian land,” said State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau, adding, “Israel’s own Attorney General has reportedly expressed serious concerns about the constitutionality of this proposed legislation.
“If this law were enacted it could pave the way for the legalization of dozens of illegal outposts deep in the West Bank. This would represent an unprecedented and troubling step that is inconsistent with prior Israeli legal opinions and break longstanding Israeli policy of not building on private Palestinian property,” she added.
“Our policy on settlements is clear, we believe they are corrosive to the cause of peace. This legislation would be a dramatic advancement of the settlement enterprise, which is already gravely endangering the prospects for a two-state solution,” said Trudeau.
The bill still needs to be voted upon by the Knesset before it can become law.