The EU urged Israel Friday to show "zero tolerance" after an arson attack in the Palestinian Authority (PA) village of Duma killed a baby and injured four others. The attack was blamed on "settlers" in Judea and Samaria, although no suspects have been arrested yet.
"The Israeli authorities should...take resolute measures to protect the local population. We call for full accountability, effective law enforcement and zero tolerance for settler violence," a spokesperson for EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogeherini said, according to AFP.
Earlier Friday, EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen also condemned the attack.
The EU has long rallied against what it has labelled as "illegal" and "dangerous" Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, and has used Israel's presence in the region as a form of bargaining chip to achieve its own goals for the Middle East.
Plans for the EU to label "settlement" products have been discussed for years. In 2012, the EU formally recommended that Israeli activity in Judea and Samaria be “prevented” through an economic boycott of Jewish industry in those regions. Such a move would affect tens of thousands of Arabs in the region who are employed in Jewish-owned industry.
Foreign ministers from EU member countries indicated at one point they would back the labeling initiative, but it was later reported that the plans were postponed after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry intervened. Despite this, the "settlement labeling" plan was revived in June.
The bloc has also been a particularly vocal critic of Israel building homes for Jews in the region, as well as in Jerusalem. In the latest attack on sovereignty, the EU insisted Wednesday that Israel committing to build 300 housing units in Beit El, as well as 504 units in Jerusalem, "would further undermine the practical possibility of implementing the two-state solution."
The EU has helped Palestinian Arab building in the region tremendously, however - both illegally and quietly. EU-funded NGOs have been linked with campaigns to "save" illegal Palestinian settlements and the bloc has even built actual illegal structures on Israeli state land.
Despite the EU claims that Judea and Samaria are “occupied territory”, the 2012 Levy Report proved proved conclusively that the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is legal according to international law. Despite the report being commissioned by Binyamin Netanyahu's government, it has yet to be adopted.