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Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon In Favour Of Sanctions Against Israelis, Not Hamas

As violence escalates in the West Bank and some major European Union members call for sanctions against Hamas, our Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Tanja Fajon, is fighting back against the Israelis. As the Slovenian Press Agency reports, she is campaigning for a ban on EU visas for Israeli settlers living in the Palestinian territories.

At a recent debate in Brussels, at which the MEPs discussed the possibility of introducing tougher sanctions against Hamas and its finances, Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon argued, among other things, for sanctions against Israeli settlers.

Regarding Slovenia’s support for the introduction of sanctions against Israeli settlers in the West Bank, Fajon explained that the main concern was the continuation or escalation of violence in the occupied territory, including announcements of additional illegal construction. The Minister said that it was difficult to predict whether there would be a consensus on this at today’s meeting, but it should be noted that the discussion in Brussels was primarily aimed at tightening sanctions against Hamas.

The EU with additional sanctions against Hamas

Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that killed around 1,200 people in a cross-border attack on Israel from Gaza on the 7th of October, has already been designated as a terrorist organisation by the European Union, which means that any funds or assets it has in the EU should be frozen. However, a document that was being discussed in Brussels suggests that the EU could “strengthen sanctions against Hamas and other terrorist groups” by further targeting their finance and disinformation. It suggests that the EU could set up a special sanctions programme dedicated to Hamas, foreign media report.

EU sources said before the meeting that sanctions against Hamas could be adopted in the coming weeks. In the meantime, sanctions against extremist Israeli settlers are still subject to political debate on whether and how to impose them. Foreign media report that the possibility of sanctions against extremists opposed to the two-state solution and the Palestinian presence in the West Bank is on the table.

Meanwhile, Italy, France and Germany are calling on the EU to impose ad hoc sanctions against Hamas and its supporters. This is according to a joint letter from the foreign ministers of the three countries to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, reports The Guardian.

“We express our full support for the … proposal to create an ad hoc sanctions regime against Hamas and its supporters,” the letter reads. The countries then add that “the swift adoption of this sanctions regime will enable us to send a strong political message about the European Union’s commitment against Hamas and our solidarity with Israel.”

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had criticised Western leaders and told his cabinet that they were inconsistent with their support for Israel’s war aim of destroying Hamas. He told a briefing of his cabinet that he had told the leaders of France, Germany, and other countries: “You cannot, on the one hand, support the elimination of Hamas and, on the other hand, put pressure on us to end the war, as that would prevent the elimination of Hamas.”

EU foreign ministers will discuss the future of the Middle East after the end of the current fights. Borrell has already presented them with a framework for the future of the region last month. On this basis, his services have, according to diplomats, prepared seven areas for action with concrete proposals. The measures are aimed at stabilising Gaza, re-energising the Palestinian Authority, and revitalising the Middle East peace process.

A. H.

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