An Israeli academic makes the case for Europe to contain Israel’s settlement policy with greater determination and more concrete measures. By Nurit Peled-Elhanan Times are very tough for both Israeli and Palestinian families. The death toll in Gaza currently stands at more than 1,000, the majority of whom are civilians. The death toll in Israel stands at 43, three of whom are civilians. Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank. A Palestinian youth from Jerusalem was burned alive by Jewish extremists. Dangerous and violent racism against Arab-Israeli citizens encouraged by Israeli ministers and parliament members has led…Read More... | 10 Comments
The direct effects of official sanctions against Israeli settlements are limited. But the momentum created by such moves inspires and pushes private actors to take their own steps in the same direction. France on Tuesday published a warning to its citizens against doing business in or with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. The UK issued a similar official warning to its citizens late last year, and according to Haaretz’s Barak Ravid, Italy and Spain are expected to make similar announcements soon. There has been an open movement in the halls of European power in…Read More... | 52 Comments
By arresting Hamas-affiliated journalists, charity workers and parliament members, Israel is going way beyond any attempt at trying to find the kidnapped teens. Someone's gotta say it: what Israel has been doing in the West Bank over the past several days goes way beyond any attempt at trying to find the kidnapped teens. It is a military and political attack on Hamas intended on serving the government's agenda, with no connection to the attempts to find the teens, and no clear connection between Hamas and the kidnapping. Let me clarify: I am sure that the army is making efforts to…Read More... | 13 Comments
The EU's measures on settlements, limited as they were, remain a source of serious concern in Jerusalem. Some in the Israeli Right hope that the rise of the 'Euro-Skeptics' will rid Israel of the problem. The year 2013 was a turning point with regards to the European Union's role in Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until then, one could hardly speak of any European political involvement that transcended the role of banker for American-led efforts and various civil society initiatives. The working assumption was that the Americans will create the solution, the Europeans will pay for it, and that's it. In fact, until…Read More... | 3 Comments
Israel says allowing organizations to visit Gaza inherently 'strengthens Hamas,' even when no visits with Hamas officials are planned. Couldn't the same logic be used to argue for a boycott of Israel, considering Israel's occupation regime? Israel blocked a European Parliament humanitarian delegation from entering the Gaza Strip through Israel last week, claiming that the visit would "strengthen Hamas." The draft program of the trip, seen by +972, was scheduled to take place this week, October 27-30. The delegation was expected to enter Gaza through Israel's Erez Crossing on Monday morning after spending the night in East Jerusalem and leaving…Read More... | 18 Comments
On both sides of the Atlantic, the consensus on the need to avoid and resolve confrontations with Israel at all costs guarantees that diplomacy will not change the trends on the ground in the foreseeable future. There are more and more signs that Israel and the EU are about to resolve the mini-crisis created by the publication of a commission notice that would have limited EU loans to Israeli entities that operate beyond the Green Line and set stricter rules regarding the use of EU grants and prizes. Some initial media reports (including on this site) were not accurate in…Read More... | 18 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
In late September, 500 academics from around the world sent a letter to the EU demanding not to dilute its new guidelines limiting cooperation and funding of Israeli institutions located or operating beyond the pre-1967 borders. Among them were a number of Israeli academics. Ishay Rosen-Zvi is one of the Israeli professors who signed the petition. "The only thing needed to end the occupation -- and it's amazing how simple it is -- is to stop funding it," he explained. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU6DHj_O6XA&feature=youtu.be Related: Despite outcry, EU guidelines on settlements will have little effect Why the EU shouldn't amend its new settlement…Read More... | 1 Comment
Israel's defense minister orders a halt to cooperation with the European Union-funded humanitarian aid projects benefitting West Bank and Gaza Palestinians. Israel’s defense minister launched a massive 'price tag' attack last week. In response to an EU directive that will help ensure European funding does not benefit Israeli settlements, Moshe Ya’alon ordered a halt to cooperation with European humanitarian efforts benefiting Palestinians in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank. "We are freezing the relationship on everything," an Israeli official told The Guardian. "We did this as soon as we heard [about the directive]. We can't act like nothing happened." Price…Read More... | 34 Comments
What does the possibly-revived peace process John Kerry announced on Friday have going for it? - “Diplomatic Tsunami” – a catch-phrase that stands for high-level global isolation of Israel as punishment for its policies is the great fear on everyone’s mind in Israel this week. Israel is smarting from a recent spate of symbolic blows highlighting international opprobrium in new and painful ways: Stephen Hawking refusing to attend the President’s conference, and the new EU guidelines are two very significant examples of very mainstream figures increasingly putting actions behind words Israel has come to ignore. - Palestinian power play. The…Read More... | 11 Comments
The European Union's new guidelines regarding the settlements were the talk of the day in Israel yesterday (Tuesday), and they are still the leading story in all the morning papers. The feeling is that for the first time, an international body has taken a real measure to limit Israeli activities in the occupied territories. There has also been a lot of misinformation and a lack of clarity in the media regarding these guidelines. Here are some clarifications from a European source regarding the Commission Notice (this is the exact term). Below is the four page document the EU has passed to all…Read More... | 6 Comments
Every agreement the European Union signs with Israel as of 2014 will explicitly exclude all territories beyond the Green Line. The U.S. also doesn't recognize Israel's settlements, begging the question of why it doesn't also take such measures. The European Union will only enter cooperative agreements with Israel if it explicitly excludes the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights, Haaretz's Barak Ravid reported Tuesday. This means all Israeli government institutions and groups across Israel's pre-1967 borders (the Green Line) will be automatically disqualified from receiving grants, funding, prizes or scholarships from the EU. In other words, Israel will be forced to…Read More... | 10 Comments
A new position paper, which echoes previous statements by EU negotiators and leaders, urges the EU to adopt a more confrontational approach toward Jerusalem. A top European think tank is urging the European Union to take concrete measures to keep open a window for the two-state solution. The report, published two weeks ago, urges European countries to exempt settlements goods from Israeli-European trade agreements, to refrain from contacts with the West Bank’s new university in Ariel and even impose visa requirements on settlers. The report (PDF), published by the Middle East-North Africa program at the European Council on Foreign Relations and written…Read More... | 11 Comments
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