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Yesterday the Irish parliament voted to officially "condemn the ‘de facto annexation’ of Palestinian land by Israel". The Guardian says:

Ireland’s parliament has voted to condemn Israel’s “de facto annexation” of Palestinian land in what it said was the first use of the phrase by an EU government in relation to Israel. Government and opposition parties united on Wednesday night to back a motion that excoriated Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

It is well established that Israeli colonies are illegal according to international law. In my understanding, if a country illegally occupies a land and builds settlements on it, then it is evidently annexing it. However from the first sentence of the article above it seems that this condemnation by Ireland is significantly stronger than any previous position on the topic in the EU, so I must miss something in the subtleties of diplomatic language:

  • If there is an official position of the EU on Israeli settlements, what is it? If not, what is the main position of the EU countries?
  • How much stronger is the wording of Ireland? Are there any particular diplomatic implications to calling it an annexation?
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    Removed the word "illegal" from the title as otherwise its a loaded question. – JonathanReez May 27 at 8:59
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    @JonathanReez I don't mind the title edit too much but I disagree that the word "illegal" makes it a loaded question, it's not controversial whether the settlements are legal or illegal. – Erwan May 27 at 11:30
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – JJJ May 28 at 18:30
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Yes, the EU diplomatic service has made a Statement:

The EU reiterates its position that all settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal under international law and the EU will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including in Jerusalem, other than those agreed by both sides. The EU renews its call on the Israeli government to halt settlement construction and to reverse these latest decisions as a matter of urgency.

The EU countries are generally in accord with this, to one degree or another. However, unlike trade directives, EU foreign policy decisions are not mandatory

This is not a new position: In an 2016 statement

European Union reiterates its strong opposition, in line with the position of the Middle East Quartet, to Israel's settlement policy

And the term "annexation" has been used before, albeit in a personal post by EU High Representative Josep Borrell:

we will spare no diplomatic efforts to help Israel understand the risks of proceeding with the unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank [...] Annexation would constitute a violation of international law;

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