A total of 114 members of the European Parliament signed and delivered an open letter to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton Thursday to ensure she implements the EU guidelines on Israeli settlements, scheduled to take effect next month, January 2014. The guidelines stipulate that any Israeli entity that wants to receive funding and loans, participate in a project or compete for grants or awards given by foundations or agencies of the EU will have to submit a statement declaring that they have no direct link to the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights - all territories Israel…Read More... | 11 Comments
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. 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…Read More... | 58 Comments
The EU's settlement guidelines, if implemented, could be the first step in showing Israel that there are consequences for its occupation and illegal settlement building, and actually push both sides toward a resolution to the conflict. Since the EU announced new guidelines regarding its activity in settlements in July, Israel and most recently, the United States, have pushed back against their implementation. On Monday, a group of former senior European officials penned a letter to EU foreign ministers urging them to stand tough against the pressure and implement the regulations as planned. The regulations, which would limit the EU’s financial…Read More... | 7 Comments
This might be remembered as a key moment in determining the future of the occupation. In an effort to preserve the alliance with settlers and maintain its current settlement policies, the government will demand key provisions of the EU guidelines be changed or postponed. One of the most important rounds of talks on the future of the territories Israel occupied in 1967 is about to take place – and it’s not the meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators this week. The Israeli government is seeking to modify the new guidelines set by the European Union, which will forbid cooperation with Israeli institutions…Read More... | 18 Comments
An unprecedented letter by former European leaders and peace process veterans recognizes Western support for the occupation and calls for immediate steps that will bring an end to it. 13 European states support labeling products from Israeli settlements. A group of senior former European officials, including former prime ministers, foreign ministers and diplomats, is urging the European Union to abandon the Oslo process and come up with new urgent measures that will put an end to the occupation, Ali Gharib reports for Open Zion. In a letter addressed to the Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy…Read More... | 110 Comments
Four Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strikes to protest their administrative detention and the conditions in which they are being held. While the EU calls on Israel to respect its obligations toward Palestinian prisoners' human rights, an Israeli NGO reports they are being treated unethically in hospital. All anyone in Israel has spoken about for the past week is ‘Prisoner X,’ the Jewish-Israeli-Australian Mossad agent held secretly by his own country, who supposedly took his own life in prison two years ago. But only a few miles from Israeli newsrooms in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, outrage over a different type…Read More... | 11 Comments
Voters in Ukraine are casting their ballots on Sunday in the country's parliamentary elections. As of Sunday morning, there were already complaints of bribery near some polling stations. KIEV, UKRAINE - The ruling "Party of Regions" is likely to keep its majority, thanks to a revised election system that will allow single-mandate district winners to caucus with the party-in-power. The means that even though opposition groups, including the United Opposition (lead by the jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshchenko) and UDAR (led for the world boxing champion Vitali Klitshchko) will likely do better in the proportional representation part of the race,…Read More... | 1 Comment
There is no doubt in my mind that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Lieberman made political use of the statement made by the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton – getting back at her for her positions regarding the settlements and the peace process - but unlike Ami Kaufman (you can read those statements in his post), I think Ashton can only blame herself. Saying that all children deserve to live is self-evident, and therefore meaningless as a political statement. Ashton is the Foreign Minister of the EU – so she represents the French…Read More... | 17 Comments
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