Hungary was the only country to block a joint statement of the European Union’s 28 member countries condemning the United States’ reversal, which no longer considers the settlements in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories illegal which are currently under Israeli occupation.
On Monday, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo announced that “after carefully studying all sides of the legal debate… the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law.”
Shortly afterwards, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, issued a statement insisting that „the European Union’s position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace, as reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 2334.
The EU calls on Israel to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.”
Hungarian Foreign Minister, Péter Szijjártó, however, soon instructed Hungarian diplomats to oppose any statement on the matter, Times of Israel reports.
This is not the first time Hungarian diplomacy has gone against the joint EU position on Israel. Hungary was one of the four countries to attend the official opening of the United States’ new embassy in Jerusalem, as the 28 member States of the European Union were for the most part united in their disapproval of US President Donald Trump’s decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and move the American embassy there.
Hungary and Israel: Two Nations Joined by the Political Similarities of Their Leaders?
In March, Szijjártó announced that Hungary would not implement the European Commission’s decision to label products from the illegal Israeli settlements.
As the EU’s foreign policy statements requires unanimity, several states have since issued their own position condemning the US’ decision and insisting that their position hasn’t changed.