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Report: EU to bypass its own anti-settlements guidelines

Israeli and European officials are reportedly nearing an agreement that would allow Israeli institutions to continue operating freely in the West Bank while enjoying EU grants.

Catherine Ashton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (European Union / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

In coordination with Israeli officials, the EU is about to introduce a solution that would allow Israeli institutions — which are invested in or profit from the occupation — to enjoy EU grants, according to a report in the Israel’s Maariv newspaper (Hebrew).

The new directives will enable Israeli companies and institutions to divert money into investments in the settlements and in Jewish enterprises beyond the Green Line through subsidiaries or divisions, all while receiving EU grants funds through their main operational budgets. If implemented, the new mechanism would allow Israel to join the prestigious Horizon 2020 program, which should result in 300 million euros of support to Israeli scientific and academic institutions.

Last July, the EU published a Commission Notice regarding EU grants, prizes and programs in Israel and the occupied territories.

The most important article Article 12B stated that, “Israeli entities will be considered eligible as final recipients [of loans] if they do not operate in the territories [conquered on June 1967].” According to the guidelines, Israeli institutions that applied for EU grants would be required to declare that they do not operate beyond the Green Line (read the full guidelines here).

The guidelines are not binding for EU member-states and do not apply to individual Israeli citizens.

The Commission Notice received much attention in Israel and was perceived as the first actual step against Israel’s colonization of the West Bank to be taken by the international community .

A special ministerial panel headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to reject the new guidelines and enter into negotiations with the EU seeking a mechanism that would allow Israeli entities to continue receiving grants while operating beyond the Green Line. Specifically, the talks were meant to find a way for Israel to join the Horizon 2020 program.

In recent weeks, right-wing officials predicted that Israel’s insistence would bear fruit and that both sides will be able to reach a “compromise,” which will allow Israel to operate freely in the West Bank and allow European political and bureaucratic officials to save face by not forcing them to completely abandon their decision.

According to the report in Maariv, two major changes will be entered into the guidelines: first, Israeli institutions will not be required to state that they do not operated beyond the Green Line when applying for EU grants. Instead, it will be the EU that will need to monitor and find proof that an institution is operating in the occupied territories.

Second, the institution will continue to operate freely in the settlements, as long as its headquarters is in within the Green Line. According to Maariv, the specific details of this understanding are still being debated: while the Israelis are suggesting that a company’s zip code will be enough to determine the location of its operations, the Europeans are demanding the registration of a sub-contractor that will operate beyond the Green Line.

Regardless of the final details, any alteration to the guidelines will allow private and public institutions to continue their operations in the occupied territories. In the words of an Israeli official speaking to Maariv, the changes will allow Israeli institutions “to march with [the guidelines] but not feel them.”

Related:
What’s in the new EU guidelines regarding activities beyond the Green Line?
Why the EU shouldn’t amend its new settlement guidelines
Israel responds to EU: We only accept charity on our terms

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Giora Me'ir

      What a joke.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Raimo Kangasniemi

      After this, EU’s all foreign policy activities can be closed down and handed to be done by Israel. Utter capitulation so that EU can continue to give its taxpayers money to help the creation of Greater Israel. I’m angry beyond words.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Eric

      As a European…..i feel ashamed……

      Reply to Comment
      • Raimo Kangasniemi

        As a European, I feel immense anger towards our own “leaders” and the Israeli war criminals that make them dance to the tune of illegal settlement building.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Kolumn9

      The choices for the EU is either that Israel is left out of the program or that the guidelines are changed (or ignored). There is no practical benefit to the EU of Israel being left out and gains for the EU from Israel’s participation. There is zero chance that Israel could enter such a cooperation agreement under the terms suggested by the published guidelines which would force it to discriminate against entities operating in East Jerusalem which it has annexed and which operate under the same Israeli law as all other Israeli institutions. This remains the case regardless of how profitable and useful it is for Israel to participate in the project (and it is very useful for Israel to participate in the project). As such it is only reasonable that a compromise is found which would allow Israel to participate with the Europeans bending their guidelines.

      I don’t know whether the EU will actually make the needed changes to allow Israel’s participation but all practical reasons are there for the EU to do so. If they don’t everyone loses. If they do everyone wins.

      Reply to Comment
      • tod

        “If they don’t everyone loses. If they do everyone wins”. Everyone except the occupied.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          How precisely do the ‘occupied’ benefit if the research treaty between Israel and the EU is not signed?

          Reply to Comment
          • tod

            The occupied would benefit from the fact that Israel is pressured in order to change its exploiting attitude. Without pressures, the occupier won’t have any interest in changing the status quo.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            In other words, you presume that economic pressure on Israel would cause it to change its policies towards the ‘occupied’, but you do so with no actual logical proof of the matter. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is an existential one for Israel and external pressure does not lead to countries jeopardizing their core interests or existence. Given an existentially beneficial situation the Israel has even less of an interest in changing the status quo if it is made weaker. Under such circumstances it is more likely to conservatively deepen the status quo than to attempt to radically change it. The ‘occupied’ would get no benefit from such steps and are more likely to be hurt in order to weaken them in an effort to rebalance the status quo.

            Reply to Comment
          • tod

            The inhuman exploitation of natural resources (and human lives) that is taking place beyond the green line cannot be justified in any way simply using the magic word ‘security reasons’ or ‘existential threat’. Either you are ignorant, or immoral, or simply you never lived in your life outside of Tel Aviv. Perhaps all the 3.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            If you never lived in a place where buses full of civilians were being blown up on a weekly basis by people explicitly devoted to destroying your country egged on by the vast majority of neighboring countries then you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to ‘security reasons’ or ‘existential threats’. Anyone who thinks that some ignorant moron in the EU that doesn’t like the status quo and withholds cooperation will cause us to take major risks with the lives of our civilians or with the existence of our country is nuts.

            Reply to Comment
          • tod

            “If you never lived in a place where buses full of civilians were being blown up on a weekly basis by people explicitly devoted to destroying your country”: check the rate of how Palestinians civilians and how many Israelis civilians have been killed in the last 20 years: your blood is not more red than theirs.
            If you search for ‘proves’ of whom tried first to take possess of the country of the other you can start from the ‘avodah ivrit logic’ up to the 400 palestinian villages that were razed to the ground in 1947/48/67. Any people in the world would have fought much more than the Palestinian did.
            On top of this, ‘security reasons’ or ‘existential threats’ do not have anything to do with the exploitation of the land and of the water that Israel is carrying out in the OPT.
            .
            “Anyone who thinks that some ignorant moron in the EU that doesn’t like the status quo and withholds cooperation will cause us to take major risks with the lives of our civilians or with the existence of our country is nuts”:
            anyone who thinks that has the right to humiliate millions of people and to exploit their water and their land without being blamed is an (immoral) idiot.

            Reply to Comment
          • Dr. Denis MacEoin

            Good. Thank you for saying that and speaking some sense. The pressure should, of course, be on the Palestinians to make peace and live happily ever after, if that’s not too much for them.

            Reply to Comment
      • Raimo Kangasniemi

        There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever for European Union to fund Israeli companies. We in EU should fund our own companies, not companies from an Apartheid state whose leaders sh*t on us on every chance they can and shout endlessly “Antisemitism” when we criticize their war crimes. Its stupidity. Let the Yankees who are buying those Israeli firms we fund also fund them. Or let the Apartheid State fund its own firms. We have far better uses to our many than fund the creation of Greater Israel.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          You in the EU wouldnt know innovation if it shat on your doorstep. For all the pretenses of being ‘civilized’ and ‘modern’ you are nostly spending your money on subsidizing an unsustainable social safety net fot your old and dying population and the immigrant populations that take your mobey while laughing at your naivete.

          Reply to Comment
    5. Joe Shmoe

      Disgusting, if true.

      The EU would then be breaking its own laws to permit Israel to continue illegal support to the settlements without impunity.

      Without a doubt this matter would then head to the European Court of Justice.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Philos

      This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody…

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Don’t you know? Turks are allowed to do as they please because they are A) Muslims and B) Turks.

        Reply to Comment
      • shmuel

        No double standard, Shira. It is only Israel (and Morocco) that wants to continue to exploit the land without taking any responsibility. Too easy.
        “It is perhaps necessary to clarify why the Palestinian Territories represent a “sui generis case”. In other somewhat similar contexts, such as, just to name a few, Abkhazia, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and East Turkestan, the “occupying powers” of these areas have created in loco nominally independent states (TRNC-Turkey, Abkhazia-Russia and so on), and/or are not building settlements in their “occupied territories” (Chechnya is just an example), and/or have incorporated the local inhabitants as their citizens: with all the guarantees, rights and problems that this entails.
        In Tibet, despite China’s annexation of the area (Tibetans are citizens of a country) and the fact that according to the Dalai Lama the region is not seeking independence from China, a severe repression is taking place. European powers, contrary to what could be said regarding to the Israeli-Palestinian context, bear no historical responsibilities for the current situation in Tibet. Nonetheless, Chinese embassies in London and elsewhere attract weekly protests and Beijing, ironically, continues to accuse Western countries of being unfairly singled out”.
        http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/opinion/lorenzo-kamel-setting-the-record-straight-on-eu-and-settlement-products_16307

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          There are two Shmuels writing posts in + 972.

          The above writer is the left wing anti Israel one. I, as a centre right wing Zionist am pro-Israel.

          I am pretty sure I started here in + 972 before him. One would have therefore thought that he would have the common courtesy to choose a slightly different name when he posts in order to distinguish himself from me.

          Reply to Comment
          • shmuel

            “The above writer is the left wing anti Israel one. I, as a centre right wing Zionist am pro-Israel”: your mental cages are so funny. Yes, let’s put me in your “left wing anti Israel” cage if you feel better. And call you however you want without trying to occupy also my name.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            No it does not make me feel better. If I am wrong, then I apologise.

            Now, will you have the common courtesy of varying your name at least slightly so that people won’t be confused about who is saying what? Say, to something like Shmuel1 or ShmeulB or whatever else that takes your fancy as long as we can differentiate ourselves? I mean surely you don’t want people to think that you are me? Or do you?

            Reply to Comment
      • Raimo Kangasniemi

        Turkish Cypriots voted in support of the UN unification deal which would have seen them handing over 9 % of Cyprus to the Greek Cypriots, reducing their area in a federal state to 28 %. Israel devours Palestinian land on a daily basis. There’s a difference there.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Marcos

      Obviously a step in the correct direction. Makes one wonder why did the EU create such a nonsensical distraction in the first place.

      Reply to Comment
      • Raimo Kangasniemi

        Of course you Zionists think that the whole world exists just to cater you and act as your servants, giving their money so that you can commit war crimes and then insult those who give you the money.

        Reply to Comment
      • rose

        Marcos, simply to contrast an immoral occupation.

        Reply to Comment
    8. Average American

      Oh, how special Israel is. Special rules. Special definitions. Split hairs. They don’t need to follow international law. They don’t need to change plans for Greater Israel. Because they are very special.

      But the real question is why does everyone treat (or tolerate) Israel as special? What does Israel hold over everyone’s head? What do they have to negotiate with? “We’ll do (what??) if you don’t change those rules”. Cut off access to bank credit? Smear a high-level person’s name? Roll a grenade under someone’s car? What??

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        Hey Average!

        Why don’t you do the world a favor and fuck yourself?

        Reply to Comment
        • JohnW

          Leave the poor creature alone. Can’t you see he is suffering? He just can’t work out why Jews are still around despite the intense hatred of people (oops, did I say people?) like him and their best efforts in History to get rid of Jews. He just can’t get it and it causes him intense pain and torture. Poor sod :) :)

          Reply to Comment
        • Average American

          Answer the question. What??

          Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            Repeat after me:

            Abrakadabra!
            :)

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Your answer is to avoid answering the question?

            It needs an answer, whether you’re willing to or not.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            You have no question worthy of answering.

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Well I’m not the only one in the world who is asking that question.

            Reply to Comment
      • Raimo Kangasniemi

        The political elites are for some reason obedient pets of Israel, unlike European public. I don’t know what Israel has on our “leaders”, who think only of pleasing their Zionist masters instead of the public which doesn’t “love” Israel and for a good reason.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          Oh really? Then you haven’t seen this poll:

          http://www.gallup.com/poll/161387/americans-sympathies-israel-match-time-high.aspx

          “One of the more notable aspects of the trend is the steady increase in relative support for Israel over the past decade, at the same time that the percentage with no opinion or favoring neither side has declined. Preference for the Palestinians has been relatively flat, generally in the mid- to high teens, before this year.”

          Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          “The political elites are for some reason obedient pets of Israel, unlike European public.”

          Yea, the same European public who used to taunt Jooooos with the words “Go back to Palestine”, before Israel’s existence. Now that we are back, they want us to leave. Make up your minds? What do you reaaaaaally want? Nah don’t answer that. We got our answer to that question loud and clear back in the 1940s.

          Reply to Comment
          • Christian

            According to my late grandfather, what was said was not “rentrez en Palestine” but “rentrez en Ucraine”. Could it be that your Galizian grandfather had his hearing impaired?

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Your late grandfather, rest his soul, was a liar and an idiot.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Here, look at this link:

            http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s8128.html

            “my parents were kicked out of Europe some seventy years ago. Just like the Palestinians were first kicked out of Palestine and then out of the Arab countries, or almost. When my father was a little boy in Poland, the streets of Europe were covered with graffiti, “Jews, go back to Palestine,” or sometimes worse: “Dirty Yids, piss off to Palestine.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Wait a minute, you’ve raised a very important point. People were saying go back to Ukraine, not go back to Palestine.

            This is supported by the fact that all of Israel’s early leaders and population were not ethnically from the Land of Israel, they were ethnically from the Land of Poland, Ukraine, Russia, with no claim to Palestine.

            They poured into the territory, far more than the Mandate allowed, started arming themselves, started pushing the inhabitants out with terrorism, claiming the land as given to only them by their Jewish God. And it’s still going on today.

            Gee, what could be the problem with that? What’s wrong with all those Arabs resisting that? It’s “prophecy being fulfilled” according to one of Mileikowsky’s recent religious fanatic UN speeches. Who’s Mileikowsky? Well that’s Netanyahu’s real name. His family is from Poland not Palestine.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            It figures. You didn’t study history.

            Go to Italy, have a look at the arch of Titus and try to figure out what it implies.

            Oh there is plenty of other archeological evidence to back up the Jewish people’s claim to Israel as our ancestral home land.

            Now let me ask you again: for someone with your views why don’t you be consistent and leave America to the American Indians? You hypocrite!

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            There is evidence Jewish people lived in that part of the world. Lots of people lived there. The Jews who lived there at the time were dark skinned Egyptians, looking more like (gasp) Arabs. The families of aliyah crackers from Europe and Russia who happen to be Jewish did not live there.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Yes but our ancestors did.

            And your ancestors did not live in America. So given your views, why don’t you hand America back to the Native American Indians?

            Go back where you came from you hypocrite!

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            So did the ancestors of alot of people. What’s so special about you?

            Also, my ancestors in North America didn’t take the land of Native Indians based on a religious delusion. And no one is trying to make USA to be where only Irish Catholics have full rights.

            Reply to Comment
        • Marcos

          I pity you and have compassion because you have the emotional reasoning skills of a child and you believe in conspiracy theories when reality does not suit you.

          Reply to Comment
    9. JohnW

      “instead of the public which doesn’t “love” Israel”

      Actually, only SOME of the public. The same lot who don’t “love Gypsies” either. And that fact says a lot more about THOSE sections of the European public than about Israel, the Jews or the Gypsies. Know what I mean, Raim Kang? Wink wink …

      Reply to Comment
      • Christian

        Unfortunately for you, it’s the exact opposite: in today’s Europe, those who love Israel are the ones who don’t love Gypsies. Look at arch-Zionist Manuel Valls, French Interior Minister, who sends the police to catch Gypsy children in their school buses. He has so many reasons to admire Israel…

        Reply to Comment
        • JohnW

          Really? You mean that Yesterday’s Racists suddenly now like Jews? Nah, you ought to stop listening to your old grandfather’s tales.

          Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            They don’t like Jews – they like the fact Israel is killing Arabs/Muslims. The British National Party took Israel’s side in 2006 and they’re a den of Holocaust deniers.

            Reply to Comment
          • Benji

            You mean even though the BNP hate Jews they support Israel?

            It must mean that Israel is so obviously right that even haters of Jews feel obliged to agree with it.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            It means they are so racist against Muslims they’ll support another group they hate attacking them.

            Reply to Comment
          • Benji

            You mean they hate Muslims more than they hate Jews? Surely not!

            Reply to Comment
    10. Gideon (not Levy)

      To Raimo Kangasniemi
      You should write your Foreign Minister, Dr. Erkki Tuomioja, and reason with him. He is rather critical of measures that help Israeli Occupation.

      Reply to Comment
      • Benji

        Reason with him? How quaint. He compared Israel to a Nazi state. Coming from a politician whose state fought on the side of Nazi Germany in WW2 that is a bit rich.

        Reply to Comment
        • the message was not addressed to the mxxxxt fxxxxr but to Raimo.

          Reply to Comment
          • Benji

            Heh heh heh …

            Hit a nerve, have I? Good!

            Reply to Comment
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