[QODLink]
Middle East

Israel-Romania row over settlements building

In latest row between Israel and EU, Romania refuses to allow its workers to build illegal settlements in the West Bank.

Last updated: 11 Dec 2013 03:01
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The EU has criticised the building illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem [File: Reuters]

A diplomatic spat has erupted between Israel and Romania after Bucharest reportedly refused to allow Romanian construction workers to be employed in settlements being built in the occupied West Bank.

The row, reported by Israel's military radio on Tuesday, comes in the wake of tensions between Israel and the European Union over new guidelines that bar EU funding for any Israeli entity operating in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Talks with Bucharest on importing Romanian manual labour broke down in 2012, the radio said, but resumed at Israel's initiative after a new Romanian government came to power in May that year.

Differences centre on Bucharest's request that Israel guarantee no Romanian construction workers would be employed on settlements on occupied Palestinian territory that are considered illegal under international law.

The Romanian foreign ministry confirmed to the AFP news agency that the talks were continuing and said Bucharest's position would be consistent with "respect for international law, the positions of the EU and the protection of Romanian citizens".

It said the latest draft of the accord had been sent to Israel in August for possible revisions, adding that "the negotiations are nearing the end".

It was Israel's second diplomatic row with an EU country this week, following a row with the Netherlands over a new security scanner to be installed on the Israel-Gaza border that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was to have inaugurated last Sunday.

The Dutch government had hoped the scanner would serve to facilitate an increase in the export of goods from Gaza to the West Bank, but Israeli officials accused the Dutch of trying to impose "political conditions".

Also on Sunday, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans refused to accept an Israeli military escort around Palestinian-ruled areas of the West Bank city of Hebron.

The European Union guidelines, which go into effect in January, ban funding for and financial dealing with projects linked to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians view continued settlement construction as a major obstacle to US-brokered peace talks relaunched in July after a three-year hiatus.

347

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list