08/06/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

EU Slams Israel On Settlements

The Foreign Ministry on Monday said the EU ambassador to Israel was called in for explanations after the European Commission said Israel's settlement policy helps strangle the Palestinian economy and makes the Palestinian government more dependent on foreign aid.

In an unusually harsh statement Monday, the commission said that "it is the European taxpayers who pay most of the price of this dependence."

The commission says expropriation of fertile land for Israeli settlements, roads that serve settlers only and West Bank checkpoints help constrain Palestinian economic growth and make the Palestinian government more dependent on aid.

The European Union is one of the largest donors to the Palestinian Authority.

The commission says this year alone it has paid more than 200 million euros ($280 million) to help cover the Palestinian budget deficit