EU Bans Contracts With Settlements

“The European Union has decreed that contracts between EU member states and Israel must include a clause stating that east Jerusalem and the West Bank are not part of the State of Israel and therefore not part of the contract, it was reported on Tuesday.

The decree, which will go into effect Friday, will forbid any cooperation, awarding of grants, prizes and funding for any Israeli entity in the specified areas.


The EU’s funding, direct and indirect, of Israel bodies which operate in the settlements has long drawn fire from various organizations within the Union. The EU is severely opposed to Israeli construction beyond the 1967 lines, and has acted repeatedly to draw a clear line between Israel and its settlements in the West Bank.


The latest decree resulted from the EU Foreign Affairs Council’s conclusion from December 2012, which stated that “all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.”

However, the directive will not harm funding for research institutes, such as the Hebrew University, which employs settlers in their staff. Government ministries which have offices in east Jerusalem, such as the Justice Ministry, will still enjoy the EU’s cooperation as well.

An EU official said on Tuesday that Israel should not be surprised with the directive, as the issue has been repeatedly addressed and forewarned by EU officials.

The new directive, said the official, is in line with opinions in the EU which have been prevalent for several years.

MK Ariel: Decision tainted with racism

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office MK Ofir Akunis said in response that “it’s a wrong and regrettable decision. Such steps – even before the Palestinians announced they are even ready to return to the negotiation table – are pushing the peace talks away, not drawing them closer.

“Let them know even in Europe – Judea and Samaria are not ‘occupied,’ they’re the homeland of the Jewish nation.”

Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) said in response to the decree: “This decision is tainted by racism and discrimination against the Jewish people which is reminiscent of the bans against Jews in Europe over 66 years ago,”

Minister Ariel added that “The Israeli government must not, under any condition, be a part of any future agreement which includes a clause that Judea and Samaria are not a part of the sovereign State of Israel.”

The Yesha Council stated that “To our regret, in Tisha B’av Europe has returned to a policy of boycott and segregation against the State of Israel. Europe’s unrestrained support of the Palestinian Authority has turned it into a non-neutral element.

“The Israeli government must instruct the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry to immediately halt all European projects in Judea and Samaria until this unilateral decision is aborted.”

Some in the Israeli Left congratulated the EU’s decree, and accused the government of bringing it upon itself by not pursuing the peace process. “The EU is doing Israel a favor by marking the border which the Israeli government failed to mark,” said Meretz Chairwoman MK Zahava Gal-On.

“This isn’t a boycott of Israel, but a distinction between Israel and the settlements and the occupation. The decision is the result of the complete impasse in the peace process and continued construction in the settlements and outposts,” she added.

Peace Now said in response that “The EU’s decision sends a clear message: The world doesn’t recognize the settlements and they contradict universal, democratic values. The Israeli government is running a rearguard battle against the international understanding that the Israeli occupation of the territories must end.”

Settlement construction

Meanwhile, Ynet found that the Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee will convene on Wednesday to discuss plans for building 1,071 new housing units in the West Bank.

The locus of construction will be in Modiin Illit, where a new, 732 units strong neighborhood is planned. In addition, the committee will discuss the retroactive issuing of building permits for houses already constructed.

Peace Now said in response that “The wave of building permits is unprecedented. It sends a clear message to the world – the government doesn’t want a peace process.””,7340,L-4405638,00.html




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11 responses to “EU Bans Contracts With Settlements

  1. Christopher Proudlove

    ECI (European Coalition for Israel) Netherlands has argued against labelling Israeli goods from the territories.
    As more volunteers get involved in the activities of ECI, the work is now expanding in an unprecedented way in Europe. Last month ECI shared about its activities in Sweden and Switzerland. This past month, we have seen the organic development of two new national initiatives – one in France and another in the Netherlands.
    In the last week of June, a Dutch delegation, led by ECI Legal Counsel Andrew Tucker met with government representatives in The Hague to discuss the Dutch Government proposal to label products from the disputed territories in Judea and Samaria. The new socialist government has taken an increasingly hostile stance towards Israel and is now leading the campaign within the EU to label goods produced in the so-called “settlements” in Judea and Samaria.
    ECI has been involved for many months in explaining that the best way to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians is not through boycotts or divestment, but through partnership and cooperation. Furthermore, it is clear that it is the Palestinians themselves who will suffer if Israeli products from the territories are labelled and boycotted in Europe.
    There are currently 70,000 Palestinians working for Israeli businesses in the territories. In the meeting with government representatives, Andrew Tucker explained that labelling will inevitably lead to economic boycotts. He also stressed that international law does not make all settlements illegal, but settlements have the potential to create peace through economic cooperation rather than stand in the way of peace. Andrew Tucker is ECI’s Legal Counsel and the executive director of Christians for Israel International which is one of the founding members of ECI.
    The European Union has, for the moment, refrained from calling for a boycott of Israeli goods from the territories, in an effort not to interfere with the current attempts to revive the peace process.
    Earlier in the year, ECI managed to divert a similar NGO campaign in Finland. Its grassroots activists, who also support the Christian aid organisation who led this campaign, simply made contact with its staff and board members, to express their concern about singling out Israel. The organisation has since kept a much lower profile on the issue of boycotts.
    ECI’s legal committee, with the help of a leading European barrister based in Brussels, spent several months researching the San Remo Treaty and concluded that it was an irrevocable international treaty which gives Israel the right to settle Jews between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, including the Gaza Strip, provided there was no interference with existing communities.
    It has since taken this message to national governments and the United Nations and has been disgusted to find the treaty is still being wrongfully ignored.

  2. Christopher Proudlove

    Just one week after ECI (European Coalition for Israel) held meetings in the Swedish Parliament and met with high officials at the Swedish Foreign Ministry, the minister responsible for development aid, Gunilla Carlsson, unexpectedly announced that the Government is considering cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority by 200 million Swedish Krona (22 million Euros) out of a total budget of 700 million Krona, due to its refusal to re-engage in the peace process.
    ‘It does not make sense to pour money into a process which does not lead anywhere’, she said in a press statement, criticising the current Palestinian leadership for its lack of involvement. The minister also accused the Israeli Government of a lack of interest in the peace process.
    One week after the announcement Swedish MP, Roland Utbult, openly questioned some of the content of Swedish aid to the PA, in an opinion editorial in the Swedish daily, Dagen.
    ‘Is the aid really supporting the peace process or could some part of it in fact be counterproductive to achieving peace?’, he asked, echoing criticism from neighbouring Norway, where new revelations confirm that Norwegian tax money has been paid out to families of convicted Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails.
    Sweden has for many years been one of the most generous donors to the Palestinian Authority, whilst at the same time one of the most critical of the current Israeli Government. Due to the hostile situation in Sweden, ECI has decided to get more involved in the country, by working together with existing networks and local churches. A large part of the anti-Israeli activities in Sweden are heavily subsidised by the government, whilst traditional pro-Israel organisations do not receive any state funding for their activities.
    ECI does not receive any public funding as an NGO, but is completely dependent on the contributions of its supporters.

  3. Christopher Proudlove

    A conference promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel was recently held in Bethlehem. But instead of making Israel look bad, the gathering demonstrated precisely why it is the Palestinian Authority from which average Palestinians have the most to fear.
    Speaking at the conference was PA Economy Minister Jawad al-Naji, who was taken aback when one of the participants pointedly asked why the Palestinian regime bans normalization between average Palestinians and Israelis, but still conducts security coordination with the Israeli military.
    Naji lashed out at the participant, a Nizar Banat, before storming out of the session. Banat later told Palestinian media that after leaving the premises, he was set upon and beaten by Palestinian Authority security officials.
    Another participant told The Jerusalem Post that Naji did not leave voluntarily, but was told to leave by the audience, which was upset over the Palestinian official’s behavior. She also said that Palestinian security officials searched the cellphones of numerous participants to make sure the heated exchange involving Naji had not been recorded.

  4. Christopher Proudlove

    Melanie Phillips writes: Consternation in Israel over the EU’s malicious decision to boycott individuals or institutions situated over the ‘Green Line’ between Israel and the disputed territories. This would presumably include boycotting, for example, the Hebrew University which is just over that line or, even more grotesquely, Jewish residents in Jerusalem’s Old City – where ancient Jewish settlement far predated the arrival of a single Arab, dating as it does since King David who built it as the capital of the kingdom of the Jewish people.

    The EU says Israeli settlements beyond the Green Line are illegal under international law. Nothing new there – so do the UN and associated bodies say so. But they are simply wrong.

    International law in general is known to be highly contentious and far from authoritative, since it is anchored in no single jurisdiction and arguably therefore constitutes nothing other than international politics by another name.

    In any event, the charge that Jewish residence over the Green Line is illegal first rests on the application to this situation of the wrong treaty; and second, totally ignores the treaties which gave the Jews the right to settle anywhere in these territories.

    To take the second point first. The San Remo Treaty of 1920, in which the victors of the First World War parcelled out the remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire, created a geographical area called Palestine along both sides of the Jordan River.

    Article 6 of the Palestine Mandate signed by the League of Nations in 1922 stipulated ‘close Jewish settlement’ on the land west of the Jordan River. The river served as the boundary because that year the UK created a new Arab country, today known as Jordan, by unilaterally bestowing the land east of the river onto the Hashemite dynasty and thus giving some three quarters of Palestine away.

    That Mandate treaty obligation to settle the Jews in Palestine from the river to the sea has never been abrogated and endures today. The 1945 UN Charter, Chapter XII, Article 80 explicitly says than nothing within it shall ‘alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties’.

    Now to the main argument mounted by the ‘illegalisers’. This rests on their claim that the Israeli settlements breach Article 49 of the Geneva Convention. But this article does not apply to the settlements. Written in the shadow of the deportation of European Jews to their deaths in Nazi Europe, it prohibits

    ‘individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or that of any other country, occupied or not…The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.’

    But none of the Israelis living beyond the Green Line has been transferred or deported, forcibly or not; they all chose voluntarily to live there. (The only force ever used against these residents was in fact when Israel forcibly transferred them from Gaza into Israel in 2005.)

    Moreover, the Geneva Convention applies to actions carried out on the territory of a ‘High Contracting Party’ with a sovereign claim to that territory. But the areas in question over the ‘Green Line’ never belonged to any sovereign power. As remains the case to this day they merely constitute no-man’s land, having never been allocated to any ‘High Contracting’ sovereign state. The only treaty obligations ever made in respect of these areas was in fact to the Jews, who were promised ‘close settlement’ of the land in which they were included.

    Furthermore, Israel’s ‘occupation’ of these areas is legal twice over – since it merely gained them in a war of self-defence in 1967, and is thus legally entitled to hold onto them until the belligerents stop waging war upon it. Which they still have not.

    As for the ‘Green Line’ itself, this is not a legal border. It has no significance other than where the cease-fire line was drawn in the war of 1948-49 when the Arabs tried to destroy the newly restored State of Israel. Indeed, the Armistice Agreements of 1949 stated that the demarcation lines were ‘not to be construed in any sense’ as political or territorial boundaries’, and were not in any way to prejudice the parties’ claims in ‘the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine problem.’

    Which ‘prejudice’ is of course, precisely what the EU is now busily imposing. Indeed, by effectively corralling Israel behind the 1949 armistice line it is forcing it back behind what has been called the ‘Auschwitz border’, since this line leaves Israel militarily indefensible against attack.

    This is an act of malevolence. But the fault in large measure surely lies with Israel. For although some may find this incomprehensible, Israel does not make to the world the one case that matters – why Israelis are fully entitled under international law to build their homes in these territories; and exactly how Britain, the EU and the UN have grossly mis-stated and misapplied that international law.

    Instead, Israel merely protests that the EU move will inhibit a peace settlement. Which it undoubtedly will. But it will do so principally by upending law, truth and justice – a case Israel never makes in public, thus allowing the irrational hatred of Israel in the west, fed by racist lies and propaganda, to spread its poison unchecked.

    The reason it does not properly make this case is partly through the epic dysfunctionality of the Israeli political class (which could fill many volumes). It is partly through Israel’s isolation in the face of the bully-boys of the western diplomatic world. But it is also through Israel’s bleak and despairing judgement that the international community, composed of those who historically and presently were and are driven by obsessive hatred of the Jewish people and which finds expression for that hatred through vehicles such as the UN and EU, will always do the bidding of those who wish to destroy the Jews and is therefore impervious to reason and morality.

    News of the EU’s act of existential spite against Israel broke on the fast of Tisha b’Av, when Jews mourn the destruction of the Temple (you know, that Temple, the one that stood in Jerusalem all those centuries ago before any Arabs existed, let alone any Green Line) along with the seemingly never-ending list down through the ages of all those prosecuting their uniquely murderous and baseless hatred of the Jewish people.

    Some coincidence. To that list of infamy, the EU can now add its name. For shame.

  5. Christopher Proudlove

    You may disregard it, Trevor, but San Remo Rules, OK.

  6. Christopher Proudlove

    Furthermore, Israel’s ‘occupation’ of these areas is legal twice over – since it merely gained them in a war of self-defence in 1967, and is thus legally entitled to hold onto them until the belligerents stop waging war upon it. Which they still have not.
    Still laughing out loud, are you Trevor? Another battle you have lost.
    Who is laughing out loud now, Trevor.

  7. Christopher Proudlove

    A senior Palestinian Authority official confirmed to the Israel Hayom newspaper that many in Ramallah were dissatisfied with the European Union’s decision to withhold economic grants and incentives to Israeli companies situated in Judea and Samaria.
    “For our part, we approached a number of [European] Union officials, in the [Palestinian] Authority and also in Israel, to try and prevent the decision or at least to keep it unofficial,” said the official, who declined to give his name. “It’s not just Israeli companies that are going to be hit economically; it’s also going to be disastrous economically and socially for the Palestinian community.”
    According to the Palestinian official, the European move will freeze joint projects, force employers to stop hiring Palestinians to work on joint projects with Israelis and lead to widespread layoffs of Palestinians laborers working in Judea and Samaria industrial zones.
    Sammer Darawsha, who works in a hothouse that is a part of a joint Israeli-Palestinian agricultural project funded by members of the EU and situated near the Halamish settlement, said the decision will “affect everyone, whether Jew or Palestinian. If they take away our livelihoods and food, exactly what kind of peace will be here?”
    Several manufacturers and exporters were concerned by the EU directive — which prevents the EU from giving grants to Israeli enterprises beyond the pre-1967 borders — estimating that the decision could cause tens of millions of euros in damages.
    According to the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, the EU constitutes Israel’s most lucrative trade zone, and is the destination for a third of all Israeli goods. Trade with the EU in 2012 amounted to $36.6 billion. Israel imported $22.4 billion worth of goods from the EU that same year.
    A top manufacturer warned that “blending politics and business results in a bad mixture, we have had bitter experience with it in the past. There’s a sense that Europe is trying to harm the freedom of trade illegitimately.”
    “It must be understood that the Arab side is also going to be harmed by this directive. Indeed, a generous portion of the labor in Judea and Samaria is Palestinian,” a veteran businessman said on Tuesday.
    Ramzi Gabai, the director of the export institute, said that “there’s no room to mix political and economic issues.”
    Tzvika Oren, Manufacturers Association of Israel president and the chairman of the Coordinating Bureau of Economic Organizations, said he “regrets the EU’s intention to involve politics with economy.”

  8. Christopher Proudlove

    ISRAEL’S Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni yesterday (Wednesday) headed Israeli attempts to freeze the publication of new EU funding guidelines.
    The European Commission announced new guidelines earlier this week, which specify that all future EU funding agreements with Israeli entities should exclude those in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. It is unclear what impact the guidelines will have, although a comprehensive guideline which explicitly defines Israeli territory may make future agreements difficult for Israel to sign. There is also significant Israeli concern that it will hamper the efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry to re-start peace talks, as it could embolden the Palestinian Authority’s insistence on rigid adherence to pre-1967 borders and a halt to West Bank construction as pre-conditions to talks.
    Netanyahu yesterday spoke with President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, to express his concerns, warning that the guidelines would hinder Kerry’s efforts. He requested that the guidelines be suspended and not included, as planned, in the EU’s journal which will be published on Friday. Should this formal publication of the guidelines take place, it would require the consensus of all EU member states to rescind them. Netanyahu also reportedly spoke to Kerry yesterday and asked for his help in resolving the issue. In addition, Netanyahu also called a number of European leaders, including France’s President Francois Hollande and the heads of government of Greece, Austria and Malta.
    Meanwhile, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who also heads Israel’s peace efforts, spoke with EU Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton and similarly requested a suspension on the publication of the guidelines on the grounds that it would hamper efforts to re-start peace talks. Haaretz says Livni argued that border negotiations must be left to Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Livni is also reported to have met yesterday with EU Ambassador to Israel, Andreas Reineke.

  9. Christopher Proudlove

    Christian Middle East Watch reports: News has been breaking this week of an apparently draconian new EU trade directive that would force Israel to declare the whole of the West Bank and East Jerusalem outside of the State of Israel in any future agreements, funding arrangements or award schemes with the EU! While the extent of the teeth in this new directive is vague at the moment, the Israeli government is certainly showing serious concern over it. The country’s deputy Foreign Minister, Ze’ev Elkin, told the Jerusalem Post,
    “This is an over-eager bureaucratic process that can have far-reaching ramifications that Israel cannot agree to and which are liable to significantly hurt Israeli-EU cooperation in Research and Development, education, culture and scientific exchanges,” Elkin told The Jerusalem Post. And, he added, “it badly hurts the diplomatic process and Kerry’s efforts.”
    That the EU would continue to tighten the screws on Israel’s activities beyond the green line, is no surprise to anyone. What is new this time is that the EU is trying to force Israel’s government into accepting a historical armistice line with no political meaning as the country’s international border.
    Besides being an insult to Israel’s rights as a sovereign state, the directive interferes with every agreement signed between Israel and the Palestinian leaders by presuming on an issue that can only be decided between the two negotiating parties (who haven’t actually negotiated anything for several years)! Prime Minister Netanyahu clearly takes the directive seriously, having called an emergency cabinet meeting and issued a strong condemnation, in which he points out that execution of the directive will “make it more difficult to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, because they will ask why negotiate when the Europeans are giving them what they want…”
    The dust is still swirling in the air over this issue; even as to whether the offending document is a firm directive to all member states or a set of guidelines; but if it is as severe as is being reported I predict several possible outcomes; none of them good for Europe or Britain.
    1. British trade with Israel has never been stronger and is growing all the time. Co-operation between British companies and Israeli start-ups through our Tel Aviv embassy’s technology hub is yielding tangible benefits for both countries. Furthermore, Britain is now Israel’s fourth largest export receiver. If the EU enforces the directive, which comes into force this Friday, it could have a catastrophic effect on the fruitful economic ties Britain has with Israel.
    2. The EU as a whole will suffer if Israel does as she should and refuses to co-operate with the terms of the directive. European countries benefit from many Israeli medical and technological advances and future co-operation in these areas would grind to a halt to the detriment of us all. If Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to poke the EU in the eye, all he has to do is move small parts of his country’s drone production into the West Bank and let Brussels chew on a halt to her purchase of Israeli drone technology.
    3. While Israel exports millions of dollars of goods and food to European nations, the EU is not Israel’s only trading partner. Even some Arab Gulf states have begun developing quiet links with their traditional enemy. Further east Israel is building stronger trade links with India and China, two of the world’s biggest economies. And of course Israel still has the USA, totally unaffected by silly decisions made by an unelected bureaucracy across the sea. No doubt Israel’s detractors and boycott-wishers will crow and celebrate this European condemnation of Israel’s so-called “occupation” of Judea and Samaria. Let’s be clear about this, though; if the EU enforces this latest anti-Israel directive it will do nothing for peace; it will do nothing for the economies of any European nations and will only bring to an end the benefits we all have from Israel’s technology, medical and agricultural advances.
    4. Closer to home and just as damaging for Israel is the certainty that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will make as much mileage out of this as it can. What incentive does Mr Abbas have to stop laying down pre-conditions for talks with Israel if the EU is setting borders and defining his future state’s territory for him? Israel should ban all EU projects in Area C of the West Bank until the directive is listed. This would prevent the EU giving further aid to the PA to develop the Israeli-controlled part of the disputed territories. Mr Netanyahu is unlikely to go as far as applying full Israeli sovereignty over that part of the West bank, as demanded by some settler groups, but he can put pressure on the EU and the Palestinians by refusing to allow further EU funded projects there.
    Sorry EU Commission, but methinks you’ve shot yourself in the foot this time!

  10. Christopher Proudlove

    THE FOUNDER and director of the European Coalition for Israel (ECI), Tomas Sandell, writes:
    In May 2007, our organisation, ECI, broke the law. In clear breach of an EU policy recommendation not to organise any official European events in Jerusalem we hosted our official Europe Day reception at the King David Hotel in the heart of Jerusalem. Among the many dignitaries present were several EU ambassadors, as well as members of European Parliament and several national parliaments. If we were a bunch of outlaws, we were certainly in good company. And we had a great time.
    Next year we plan to do it all over again, and this time we hope to also have some nice side events in East Jerusalem. I will personally make sure that the wine we serve is from the Golan Heights.
    After the vicious move on Tuesday by the EU to try to predetermine the borders of a future two state solution by boycotting Israel outside of the 1967 lines, the decision does not leave us with any other choice than to break this the most hideous of all the hideous EU-directives.
    Jews living in East Jerusalem and the territories have every right under international law to reside there. Dividing Jerusalem and expelling Jews living in the Old City would be in clear breach of Article 15 of the Mandate for Palestine, which states that ”No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the sole grounds of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the grounds of his religious belief.”
    Furthermore, the EU has signed the Oslo Accords, which states in Article 31 that ”neither side shall take any steps to change the status of Gaza and the West Bank pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”
    Let me be crystal clear. As European citizens, we are not trying to interfere in Israeli domestic policy. How the Israelis and the Palestinians decide, through bilateral negotiations, to settle their disputes and live together in peace is not for us to decide But neither should it be the business of the EU to do so. As outside interlocuters, we should help foster an environment where trust can grow and co-existence is possible between Israelis and Palestinians. Now the EU is doing the exact opposite.
    Since when do Jews living outside of the 1967 armistice lines pose a threat to peace? Are not Jews and Palestinians supposed to live together and not be separated any longer? What will be the next measure from the Nobel Peace Prize winner, the EU? Perhaps banning Jews living in the territories from entering the European Union? As a European citizen who is currently enjoying my summer holiday, I cannot help but feel an ice-cold chill going through my body.
    As an organisation, we will clearly protest against EU interference in trying to predetermine the final borders of a Two State Solution, hence making any substantial negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians superficial and unnecessary. If the Palestinians can get anything they ask for via their EU-satellites, then there is no reason to return to the negotiating table – ever.
    Whereas the whole Middle East is in turmoil, the EU now seems to be putting all its energies and efforts into destabilizing the only democratic state which shares our values and providing hope in the region, namely Israel.
    It used to be fashionable in Brussels circles to state that ”the Palestinian conflict must be resolved in order to create peace and stability in the Middle East.” Today it is rather difficult, even for the Eurocrats in Brussels, to explain how the bloodbath in Syria or the turmoil in Egypt has anything to do with unsettled business between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
    Perhaps there will be two sets of European recommendations in the future – those formulated by the anonymous and non elected EU-bureaucrats in Brussels and those decided by the citizens themselves in a free and democratic Europe. One thing is for sure; this time we will not remain silent when our leaders step up their diplomatic war on the Jewish state.
    Jewish settlements are not the obstacles to peace. Today the real obstacle to peace is spelt EU.

  11. Christopher Proudlove

    P. David Hornik writes in FrontPageMag: On Tuesday, which was Tisha B’Av—a mournful Jewish holiday that commemorates two destructions of Jerusalem, the Spanish Expulsion, and other disasters of Jewish history—Israel’s far-left daily Haaretz trumpeted the news that the European Union had issued a new directive.
    It bans any and all interactions, economic, social, or academic, with Israeli companies or institutions situated in East Jerusalem, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), and the Golan Heights—that is, the places Israel took over in the 1967 Six-Day War, where a total of 700,000 Israelis (not far from 10 percent of the country’s population) now live.
    The directive also states that “all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.”
    In the run-up to the Six-Day War—among other such statements—Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser said, “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel.” Syrian defense minister (later prime minister) Hafez Assad said, “I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.” Iraqi president Abdur Rahman Aref said, “The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear—to wipe Israel off the map.”
    Israelis secretly dug 10,000 graves for the expected victims of the war. Some 14,000 hospital beds were prepared. Gas masks were handed out to the population. Survivors of the European Holocaust in particular were gripped with fear.
    The rest, of course, is history; instead of being annihilated, Israel won the war and conquered the places in question, as well as the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza.
    By now, Israel has handed the Sinai back to Egypt in a peace treaty, unilaterally evacuated Gaza, and striven in vain for 20 years to reach a deal with the Palestinians over the West Bank.
    As for the Golan, there too attempts were made to hand it or parts of it back to Syria in return for peace undertakings.
    These days, with the Syrian civil war raging and both Syrian-army and jihadist forces lobbing mortars into the Golan daily, even left-wing Israelis recognize that ceding the Golan would have meant these forces would now be thronging the Sea of Galilee.
    But for the EU, the fact that the Six-Day War was one of survival, that Israel conquered areas from which it was attacked, that considerable parts of these areas are of great security and/or religious-historical significance to Israel, and that Israel nevertheless accepted the principle of trading back parts of them for peace commitments, has no bearing: all of official Europe, right and left, conservative and socialist, has always defamed all post-1967 Jewish life in any of those places as “illegal.”
    This new directive concretizes that notion in ways that Israelis of both the right and left—and, yes, Palestinians too—expect to be harmful.
    Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the right-of-center Habayit Hayehudi party rightly remarked that this placing of 700,000 Jews beyond the pale “recalls boycotts against the Jews in Europe more than 66 years ago.” Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, a dove and fervent advocate of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, said the directive “potentially means that 40 percent of research and development grants to Israel will be affected.”
    And while the public Palestinian Authority response to the directive was laudatory, a “senior Palestinian Authority official” told Israel’s largest daily Israel Hayom that
    “For our part, we approached a number of [European] Union officials, in the [Palestinian] Authority and also in Israel, to try and prevent the decision or at least to keep it unofficial…. It’s not just Israeli companies that are going to be hit economically, it’s also going to be disastrous economically and socially for the Palestinian community.”
    According to the Palestinian official, the European move will freeze joint projects, force employers to stop hiring Palestinians to work on joint projects with Israelis and lead to widespread layoffs of Palestinians laborers working in Judea and Samaria industrial zones.
    Those who put hope in Secretary of State John Kerry’s current peace initiative also believe the EU directive will severely damage it by causing the Palestinian side to further harden its positions.
    Some Israeli officials believe the directive may only have been issued by mid-level EU bureaucrats. But if published in the EU’s official gazette by Friday, it will take effect and be almost impossible to rescind.
    The Times of Israel reported Wednesday evening that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on the phone to high-level European leaders to try and alert them to the dangers and get them to delay the measure.
    But even if his efforts succeed, the directive can be taken as a warning that Europe—always perfidious toward Israel—stands to get even more so as its Muslim populations grow and the continent’s politicians and bureaucrats scramble more and more to appease them.

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