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When Europe Demanded Israel Surrender the Western Wall: Haviv Rettig Gur, The Times of Israel, July 16, 2013—The European Union’s new directive banning any cooperation with Israeli institutions over the Green Line isn’t new, and is actually being implemented for Israel’s benefit, according to the office of the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
The EU’s Broken Mideast Compass: Noah Beck, Front Page Magazine, July 18, 2013—The European Union recently sent out a directive barring its 28 members from cooperating with Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The boycott includes “all funding, cooperation, and the granting of scholarships, research grants and prizes” to Israeli entities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
European Medicine Is Bad for Israel, and for Middle East Peace: Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, July 17, 2013—How often have European diplomats and politicians incorrectly forecast events in the Middle East? What they called the Arab Spring turned into the Islamic Winter. Didn’t they force Israel to allow Yasser Arafat, the world’s first Islamic arch-terrorist, to return from his enforced exile in Tunis by acclaiming him as Israel’s peace partner?
EU Judea and Samaria Guidelines Harm Palestinians: Daniel Siryoti, Shlomo Cesana and Hezi Sternlicht, Israel Hayom, July 17, 2013—A senior Palestinian Authority official confirmed to Israel Hayom on Tuesday 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.
Full Text of the European Union’s Settlement Guidelines: Times of Israel, July 18, 2013
Israel Moves to Quit Flagship EU Project Over Restrictions: Times of Israel, July 18, 2013
Boycott Just Around the Corner: Ephraim Sneh, YNet News, July 17, 2013
The First Casualty of the EU Settlement Directive: John Kerry: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, July 17, 2013
The Baseless Hatred of the EU Towards Israel: Melanie Philips, Melanie's Blog, July 16, 2013
Netanyahu Working to Get EU to Freeze Publication of New Guidelines: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, July 17, 2013
EU's Yesha Sanctions Could Boomerang: David Lev, Israel National News, July 18, 2013
Haviv Rettig Gur
Times of Israel, July 16, 2013
The European Union’s new directive banning any cooperation with Israeli institutions over the Green Line isn’t new, and is actually being implemented for Israel’s benefit, according to the office of the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. The directive contains two main planks: denial of European funding to, and cooperation with, Israeli institutions based or operating over the Green Line, and a requirement that all future agreements between Israel and the EU — and possibly between Israel and individual member states as well — include a clause in which Israel accepts the European Union’s position that all territory over the Green Line does not belong to Israel.
As Ashton’s office noted in a statement sent to The Times of Israel Tuesday, the directive was “in conformity with the EU long-standing position that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and with the non-recognition by the EU of Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied territories irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law.”
The European Union has indeed long held that view. It won’t invest or cooperate with communal or civic organizations over the Green Line, and has been one of the most reliable critics of Israeli settlement policy for decades. Even the details of the directive aren’t new. On December 10, 2012, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council 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.”
But the fresh directive is still sending a shock wave through Israeli diplomatic circles — not because anyone is surprised about the position it takes, but because of the precision with which the EU indicates it is to be implemented. “They crossed a line,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel Tuesday. “That the EU won’t sign an agreement with Ariel University [in the West Bank] is no secret. But now they are going to force the Hebrew University to promise that no scientist working on a program [that enjoys EU cooperation or funding] lives over the Green Line,” including in apartment complexes down the street from the university campus on Mount Scopus — “or in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, which has been Jewish a bit longer than the EU.”
“That’s absurd,” the official said. In adhering blindly to the Green Line, he claimed, the EU is in effect taking sides in the conflict in a way that distances its position from that of the majority of Israelis who support negotiations and a two-state solution. Indeed, the move has raised hackles with some on the Israeli left, which usually sees EU institutions as allies in the pursuit of peace. As another official noted, the EU’s new policy is in effect demanding that Israel deny — in writing — any rights to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, as a precondition for signing any agreement with the EU.
Ashton’s office tried to explain that the development was a positive one for Israel. “This is important in view of the new opportunities that will be offered to Israel (as an ENP [European Neighborhood Policy] partner) for participation in EU programmes and other funding instruments in the 2014-2020 financial framework,” read the statement issued to The Times of Israel. “We want Israel to play a full part in these instruments and we want to be sure that Israel’s participation is not put in question so that Israel will be able to make use of all possibilities offered by the new financial framework,” it added.
Or, in short: This is for your own good, to prevent any future challenges to your ability to get further benefits from the EU down the road — a carrot-and-stick approach where the carrot is further integration into the EU economy, and the stick is the inability of any institution operating over the Green Line to enjoy the fruits of that integration. A spokesman for the EU delegation in Israel told the Associated Press that the new guidelines would not affect Israel’s private sector or companies, but rather bodies like research centers or NGOs. That didn’t stop the Israel’s Manufacturers Association from worrying about the “obstacles” the EU was placing in the way of further economic ties.
For decades, European bureaucrats have been hard at work building a world of unbreakable rules and regulations. Applied to a messy, unresolved conflict, the decision to apply one set of rules over another — adhering to the demands of the pre-1967 lines, for example, at the expense of major Israeli population centers beyond those lines — would appear to the Israeli critics of the move to involve choosing sides in the larger conflict.
Others on the left see it differently. Labor’s Nachman Shai didn’t praise the EU move, but did regard it as the unfortunate consequence of the government’s misguided, pro-settlement policies, which he said were gradually causing Israel’s isolation. Meretz leader Zahava Gal-on called the directive “very significant,” in distinguishing between sovereign Israel, on the one hand, “and the settlements and occupation,” on the other. Europe, she said, was telling Israel that it can’t simultaneously expect to maintain international credibility as a seeker of peace while building in the settlements. Gal-on’s take was unsurprising. So, too, the outraged protests from less dovish Israeli leaders.
What was striking about the latter, though, was that they extended their criticisms to assert that the EU was demonstrating an incapacity to function as a fair-minded peace broker. And that was because, if it does indeed truly seek to implement its latest directive, and condition further dealings with Israel on a government acknowledgement that all territory beyond the Green Line is not part of Israel, the EU may have issued a demand to which few mainstream Israeli leaders will acquiesce.
Front Page Magazine, July 18, 2013
The European Union recently sent out a directive barring its 28 members from cooperating with Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The boycott includes “all funding, cooperation, and the granting of scholarships, research grants and prizes” to Israeli entities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
If this is how the EU chooses to spend its limited diplomatic and political resources “to help” the Middle East, then its moral compass is badly broken. The EU still hasn’t even mustered the clarity or courage to join the USA, Canada, and six Gulf states (led by Bahrain) in designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization, even though Hezbollah has committed terrorist acts on EU soil that have killed an EU citizen, and has supported Basher Assad’s butchery in Syria. The EU has also failed to take any decisive action to address the urgent crises in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran (which marches ever closer to nukes and imports ore — for armor and missile production — from Germany and France). And where is the EU’s boycott of Mideast governments that persecute women, execute homosexuals, and condone the slaughter of Christians?
If the EU wants to wield its economic clout to impose peace on disputing parties, why not boycott China for its brutal occupation of Tibet? Clearly that occupation doesn’t matter because the EU is China’s largest trading partner. And why isn’t the EU boycotting Northern Cyprus, which is under foreign military occupation by Turkey (against the wishes of the EU)?
The hypocrisy is even more flagrant because some EU states are themselves occupying disputed territories on various continents. One of the most notorious examples is the Falkland Islands. What exactly is the UK’s burning security interest in occupying a Latin American island nearly 8,000 miles away? Maybe the EU should boycott the UK as well.
In the end, an EU boycott of Israel is just a cheap way to score political points with the oil-producing Arab states and the growing Muslim population on European soil. Indeed, the EU’s anti-Israel directive resembles Stephen Hawking’s ill-fated attempt to inject himself into the Israeli-Palestinian controversy. Just as he absurdly chose to boycott the country largely responsible for the technology that enables him to communicate, the EU shamelessly targets the only country in the Middle East that actually shares the EU’s democratic values, respect for human rights, pluralism, and the rule of law (not to mention shared interests like curbing Iranian nukes, developing natural gas resources in the Mediterranean Sea, and seeing moderates prevail in the volatile Middle East).
Putting aside the EU’s abundant hypocrisy, trying to strong-arm Israel into unilateral concessions has already proved to be an abysmal failure when it comes to promoting peace. Just ask President Obama, who in 2009 pressured Israel into a 10-month settlement freeze in the West Bank without requiring any reciprocal gestures from the Palestinians. They quickly realized that they need not negotiate with Israel because Obama was doing that for them. One can hardly blame Palestinians for trying to maximize their negotiating posture, even if it lacks good faith. Thus, peace talks have remained stalled for Obama’s entire presidency, even though Secretary of State John Kerry is now making his sixth peace-pushing trip (in as many months) to the region.
It’s also worth noting that the real obstacle to peace — Palestinian rejectionism and terrorism — existed before any of Israel’s settlement-building. Palestinian terrorism and rejectionism from Gaza also continued despite the removal of Israeli settlements (from Gaza in 2005). So Israeli settlements did not create Palestinian extremism and their removal doesn’t necessarily end it.
History has also demonstrated that Israeli settlement building has not prevented Israel from making painful territorial compromises for peace: Menachem Begin evacuated the Sinai, Ehud Barak ended Israel’s presence in Southern Lebanon, Ariel Sharon left Gaza, and Benjamin Netanyahu handed over West Bank territories under the Wye Accords.
Moreover, the EU seems to have forgotten that Jews have a historical and legal right to be in the West Bank. The “Mandate for Palestine” confirmed by the League of Nations recognized the “historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine” and “the grounds for reconstituting their National Home in that country.” Under Article 6, the Mandate encouraged “close settlement by Jews, on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” The EU’s boycott falsely implies that Jews have no right to live in the West Bank, and is thus disturbingly reminiscent of the “Judenrein” policies of Nazi Germany, which banned Jews from certain spheres of life only because they were Jews….
If the EU wants to ignore international law and history, the many more pressing Mideast issues, and its own hypocrisy, all for the sake of promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace, then it should at least recognize that unilateral pressure on Israel has only reinforced Palestinian inflexibility. Indeed, it is only the Palestinians who have refused to negotiate peace without preconditions. The EU has pressured the wrong party because its Mideast compass is badly broken.
EUROPEAN MEDICINE IS BAD FOR ISRAEL,
AND FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE
Jerusalem Post, July 17, 2013
We have arrived at the moment most of us reckoned we would never see. How often have European diplomats and politicians incorrectly forecast events in the Middle East? What they called the Arab Spring turned into the Islamic Winter. Didn’t they force Israel to allow Yasser Arafat, the world’s first Islamic arch-terrorist, to return from his enforced exile in Tunis by acclaiming him as Israel’s peace partner? He spoke about “peace of the brave” as they awarded him with their Nobel Peace Prize, but he gave us “peace of the grave” as soon as he landed in Ramallah. Didn’t they encourage us to forcefully uproot 8,000 people from their homes in the Gaza Strip in the name of peace with the Palestinians, and didn’t we get rockets instead? Now they have the chutzpah to aim an EU directive banning their European members “from cooperating with Israeli entities in the West Bank, Golan Heights, and east Jerusalem.”
As Daniel Seaman of the Prime Minister’s Office reminded us on his Facebook page, “the Europeans found an unequivocal voice when it comes to Israel, but still can’t declare Hezbollah a terrorist entity. Ironically, while Europeans try to define our ancestral borders, the Muslims are redefining theirs.” Seaman added, “With Europe’s record regarding the Jewish people’s past [Greece, Rome, Spain, Russia, France, Poland, Germany, Britain], they have no moral say in determining the Jewish people’s future.”
But that’s not stopping them. They have officially declared that what they call the West Bank (but Jews call Judea and Samaria) and east Jerusalem are no longer part of the State of Israel. See how they have twisted historical fact and legitimacy. In their eyes, the Jewish homeland went from being mandated the National Home of the Jewish People to a “disputed territory” when recaptured from the Jordanians in 1967, before then being transmuted into “occupied territories” as the Europeans acted to appease the radical Arab voices.
When did, fact, history and law dissolve into lies, false definitions and actions that to citizens of the Jewish state seem eerily akin to the Nuremburg laws? What happened to European patience and desire to allow the current peace initiative to take root? Instead of a quiet and orderly diplomatic route to negotiations we now have the heavy hand of European unilateral bias against Israel. As usual, it is dressed up in fine language to make it appear that they are taking altruistic steps for the good of all of us in the region.
Europe! You are not our parents, and we are not little children forced to take your nasty-tasting medicine because you insist it is good for us. You are wrong and you should not be surprised if Israel refuses to quietly take your medicine, and here is one reason why: On December 10, 2012, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council 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.”
Taken at face value, this means that the Western Wall of the Jewish Temple, which was liberated from Jordan in 1967 and where I have just celebrated a family Bar Mitzvah, and where many thousands of Jews from around the world just commemorated Tisha Be’av, the date of the destruction of both our holy Temples, is not part of the Jewish State of Israel. This alone should have world Jewry demonstrating their rage and fury. It should also bring out millions of Christians that identify with an ancient heritage that no EU diplomat dare overturn.
Earlier this year I wrote an article that appeared in The Jerusalem Post. It was entitled, “Palestinian flags flying over Jerusalem.” It detailed the significant real estate sites that will fall into the hands of Hamas when misguided outside forces side with Palestinians’ evil intent. When writing that piece I never thought such a decisive step in this direction would be taken by Europe within a few short months.
The EU blunder has brought that unthinkable moment forward. The Hebrew University, the Rockefeller Museum and Hadassah Hospital are, by the new EU definition, now prime targets for a European boycott. We are not just talking here about Israeli industry located on land that will remain as part of Israel in any future peace agreement, and that employs in excess of 30,000 Palestinian workers to boot, but also of the research, academic and medical centers that do so much good for mankind that lie at the foot of the European guillotine. And the Europeans think this is in the best interest of people in the region. They have been so very wrong in the past, and are dead wrong today.
The author is the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to
The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.
Daniel Siryoti, Shlomo Cesana and Hezi Sternlicht
Israel Hayom, July 17, 2013
A senior Palestinian Authority official confirmed to Israel Hayom on Tuesday 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."
Full Text of the European Union’s Settlement Guidelines: Times of Israel, July 18, 2013—The new European Union directives concerning EU funding for entities established beyond the 1967 border lines including the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights prohibit Israeli companies located beyond the 1967 lines from receiving prizes, grants, or financing.
Israel Moves to Quit Flagship EU Project Over Restrictions: Times of Israel, July 18, 2013—Israel has threatened to pull out of the European Union’s flagship innovation project unless the EU backs down from its funding ban on Israeli institutions operating over the pre-1967 lines. Pulling out of major economic initiative could strike a blow at Europe due to Israel’s status strength as a research center
Boycott Just Around the Corner: Ephraim Sneh, YNet News, July 17, 2013—The European Union's decision to exclude the settlements from its agreements with the State of Israel is a turning point. The decision means that any activity in a West Bank settlement will not benefit from any aid received from the EU by activities within the sovereign State of Israel (the 1967 lines).
The First Casualty of the EU Settlement Directive: John Kerry: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, July 17, 2013—US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to revive talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority suffered a serious blow on Tuesday. But this time it wasn’t the Palestinians or the Israelis who derailed the process, but the US’s ostensible ally in the quest for peace, the European Union.
The Baseless Hatred of the EU Towards Israel: Melanie Philips, Melanie's Blog, July 16, 2013—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.
EU's Yesha Sanctions Could Boomerang: David Lev, Israel National News, July 18, 2013—The European Union is not the only one that can impose sanctions and boycotts, Israeli officials said Thursday. A report in Maariv said that if the EU insists on boycotting Israelis and Jews living and doing business in the lands liberated in the 1967 Six Day War, Israel could boycott some major European Union projects that feature Israel as a central partner.
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