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
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
European diplomatic heads of mission in Jerusalem submit report to Brussels calling on the EU and its member states to take economic measures to stop Israel's settlement enterprise, and to prevent European companies from supporting the settlements. European diplomats in the Palestinian Authority called on Brussels and their respective European states to take concrete measures to stop Israel’s “systematic, deliberate and provocative” settlement enterprise, including preventing economic and financial support for settlements – actions that could described as sanctions. The report, obtained by +972, describes Israeli settlements as “the biggest single threat to the two-state solution,” and recommends specific measures…Read More... | 91 Comments
The decision to promote construction plans for the E1 area and build 3,000 housing units in the West Bank has European diplomats making a last-ditch effort to save the two-state solution. Israeli ambassadors in several European capitals have been summoned to receive angry responses to Jerusalem's recent decision to construct 3,000 new housing units in the West Bank settlements and promote the zoning plan for E1 area, northeast of Jerusalem. E1 is the only remaining corridor between the large Palestinian cities in the West Bank. It is the final brick in the great project Likud and Kadima prime ministers have…Read More... | 26 Comments
In response to the Palestinian statehood bid, the Israeli government has decided to promote zoning plans for the area known as E1, northeast of Jerusalem. The project is intended to link annexed East Jerusalem with the mega-settlement of Ma'aleh Adumin, thus finally making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian State impossible. By Ir Amim E1 (derived from “East 1”) is a term applied by the Ministry of Housing to an area located just east of the Jerusalem municipal boundary, on the hills between Ma’aleh Adummim and Jerusalem. It lies north of the Jerusalem-Ma’aleh Adummim road and edges the Palestinian towns…Read More... | 16 Comments
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