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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘William Hague’

Dutch Premier Opposes Banning Israeli Products

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

The Netherlands opposes any kind of import ban on Israeli products, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, though it must enforce European Union legislation on labeling settlement goods.

“I would like to stress that the Netherlands opposes any type of import ban or the boycott of Israeli products,” a Dutch official wrote in Rutte’s name last month to the European Jewish Congress, or EJC.

The letter, obtained by JTA, was sent to EJC President Moshe Kantor in response to Kantor’s letter to several EU heads of states, including Rutte, in which Kantor warned that labeling products from areas the European Union considers as illegal settlements was counterproductive to efforts to reach a peace settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Rutte’s letter followed reports in July that several Dutch supermarkets were boycotting “settlement goods,” though the supermarkets denied they had such a policy.

In March, the Dutch government advised business owners to refrain from labeling products from the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem as made in Israel.

A decision last year by the EU Foreign Affairs Council to label settlement goods “obliges the Dutch government to fully and effectively enforce existing EU legislation,” Rutte wrote.

The council has yet to release practical guidelines on labeling.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague struck a less conciliatory note in his reply to Kantor’s letter.

“I am afraid that I cannot agree with your concerns about EU labeling of settlement produce,” he wrote. “The settlements are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace.”

On Sept. 16, Kantor published a full-page ad in the Financial Times of London arguing against new EU guidelines prohibiting EU funding for Israeli projects in areas the European Union considers settlements.

The ad said the guidelines singled out Israel for criticism and “serve to minimize the chances for lasting peace.”

EU Ready to Train Syrian Rebels, Proxy War Full On

Monday, March 4th, 2013

The European Union may be preparing to provide weapons training to the rebels fighting Syrian president Bashar Assad, Spiegel reports. Although a statement issued by the organization last week only discussed “technical assistance,” it appears that tha the U.K. and France are ready to provide more “hands-on help,” This as the idea of arming the rebels is gaining popularity.

It should be noted that over the past two years there hasn’t seemed to exist a discernable difference in the degree of cruelty and lack of concern for human life between the two sides. It should also be noted that, by bolstering the Suni rebels, the Western powers would be sentencing the Alawites, Assad’s minority ethnic group, to mass annihilation.

In many ways, the civil war in Syria is turning out to be a war fought between proxies, in which the government forces are supported by Iran and Russia, and now the rebels are picking up the support of the West.

Vietnam revisited?

Officially, the statement released by the European Union regarding sanctions against Syria referred only to supplying rebel fighters with “non-lethal military equipment” and “technical assistance for the protection of civilians.”

But Spiegel has learned that this assistance also includes weapons training for rebel troops in their battles against soldiers loyal to Assad. The EU expects that Britain and France will deploy military consultants to support the rebels. But sources within the German government said that Berlin has no plans to send experts.

The U.S. has also announced recently that it would begin supplying non-lethal supplies to opposition forces for the first time.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday that Britain did not rule out providing arms to Syrian rebels in the future.

Despite Germany’s reluctance to get involved in Syria, there are influential voices there calling for sending weapons to the Syrian opposition. Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, has spoken out in favor of arming the rebels.

“The bitter lesson of the Bosnian war is that the policy of not delivering weapons to either side neither curbs nor curtails the conflict,” he told Spiegel. “It is high time that Germany and its partners discuss supporting Syrian rebels with equipment up to and including weapons.”

Ischinger cited the need to protect the Syrian population as well as the strategic interests of Germany and the West. “All we have done so far is lay a foundation for ensuring that we have no friends in post-Assad Syria,” he said.

Ischinger was not concerned with the possibility that the arms would end up in the wrong hands. “If the West supplies arms itself, it has more chance of influencing how they are used,” he argued.

Famous last words?

More than 70,000 Syrians—most of them civilians—have been killed over the past two years. Hundreds of thousands have fled across the borders to Jordan and Turkey, and even more fleeing to shelters within Syria. The EU has so far offered some €200 million in humanitarian relief.

Last Sunday, in an interview with the British Sunday Times, Assad slammed the West for helping his enemies, objecting most strongly to Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement that the U.S. would provide medical supplies and other non-lethal aid directly to the rebels, in addition to $60 million in assistance.

Assad said he is ready for dialogue with rebels and militants, but only if they surrender their weapons.

So that’s never.

State Department Calls Israeli Residential Building “Provocative”

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

The State Department on Tuesday spoke with disdain about Israel’s “pattern of provocative action” – the building of homes for Jewish citizens in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.

In a report by the Associated Press, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland chastised Israel for putting land negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority “further at risk”.

Also on Tuesday, British foreign secretary Willian Hague called development of housing for the burgeoning Jewish population “illegal under international law,” and warned that upcoming projects in eastern Jerusalem “would make a negotiated two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, very difficult to achieve.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/state-department-calls-israeli-residential-building-provocative/2012/12/19/

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