Pablo R. SuanzesBrussels Correspondent

Brussels Correspondent

Updated Monday, February 19, 2024-19:51

  • Middle East A UN report denounces serious abuses by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank

  • War The EU considers "consequences" for Israel if it continues to prevent the two-state solution

For years, Hungary has delayed, watered down, blocked or vetoed almost any resolution, statement or message that the EU wants to send to Israel. What comes out is reduced, filtered, and the vast majority never sees the light, forcing that instead of there being a community condemnation there must simply be a message from the High Representative for Foreign Policy,

Josep Borrell

. This Monday has not been an exception. Twenty-six of the 27 EU partners agreed with the Spanish proposal to immediately sanction Israeli settlers known for their violence, xenophobia and radicalism, with coordinated actions in the West Bank against the Palestinian population. But the crudeness of their actions, or the fact that the US, Canada or the United Kingdom have already implemented similar punitive frameworks, has not convinced Budapest, which has also prevented

a common text calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza

. There will be no sanctions on 27, so those who want to continue along that line, like Spain, will have to do so bilaterally.

"Spain is going to move forward individually in the imposition of sanctions. We would have liked the high representative's proposal to have been agreed upon but unanimity was needed and one country did not want to. I have made every effort possible to bring everyone on board, but it has not been possible. possible, so we will act individually as other countries have announced that they will also do. We have been on these violent colonists for a long time and therefore we cannot afford to wait any longer. The situation in Gaza is catastrophic but in the West Bank it is also very tense," he explained the Spanish minister,

José Manuel Albares

, at the conclusion of the meeting.

Upon arriving in the morning, Albares had already anticipated his position, aware that

Viktor Orban

was not going to move. Last week, France, along the same lines, had decided to stop waiting and

sanctioned 28 "violent extremists"

linked to specific attacks against the civilian population. Belgium and Ireland will do the same and another series of governments, which have also tried to wait for consensus, such as the Netherlands or the Baltics, will probably also in the coming weeks.

"I still do not have the agreement of all the Member States, but I will continue to press because if we want to maintain our credibility,

we have to denounce what is happening in the West Bank

," said Borrell. The head of community diplomacy, the continent's most forceful voice on the Gaza issue, has said on numerous occasions that these violent settlers are right now one of the main obstacles to the two-state solution, the pillar that the EU defends. as a common position.

Asked about these questions at the end of the meeting, the Spanish politician was clear. "I am not the spokesperson for any particular State, nor for one that has not added its position to the rest. You will have to ask whoever it concerns. My job is to try to build a common position, as common as possible, supported by the greatest number of States." I know that without unanimity there is no EU position, but there can be a majority position that, without being formal from the EU, represents 26 of the 27. There are no sanctions for that reason, because

we lack unanimity

. Ask the appropriate person to explain it. "That does not strengthen our position; we only play a role if we are united," he concluded.