Former European officials urge a new two-state approach that includes more pressure and fewer Americans. But can the EU ever bring enough pressure to change Netanyahu's calculus? The Oslo peace framework is obsolete, Netanyahu is disingenuous about a two-state solution, European funding for the Palestinian Authority only perpetuates the occupation, and the United States has never been an objective peace broker — that is what a group of 19 former prime ministers, foreign ministers and senior EU figures wrote in a letter to the European Union’s top leadership this week. (Read the full letter below.) [tmwinpost] The top-ranking group of…Read More... | 39 Comments
Congress uses U.S. trade policy to undercut European pressure against Israeli settlements. A new U.S. bill legitimizes Israeli settlements and delegitimizes Palestinian non-violent resistance to the occupation. The United States Congress is about to pass a law that erases the Green Line and delegitimizes one of the most effective non-violent tools Palestinians have for fighting the 48-year-old Israeli occupation. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act legally authorizes the White House to negotiate and sign trade deals. An amendment in that bill now defines Washington’s principal objectives in those negotiations to include the discouragement of boycott, divestment and sanctions moves…Read More... | 80 Comments
Former director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Alon Liel, discusses the growing number of European countries recognizing the State of Palestine, and a petition by thousands of Israelis calling on more states to do the same. Watch the full interview here.Read More...
An Israeli settler NGO has accused the EU of illegal building in the West Bank. But the facts — and its understanding of international law — just don’t add up. By Michel Waelbroeck and Willem Aldershoff Reports started circulating before Israel’s elections that Prime Minister Netanyahu had ordered the destruction of mobile structures distributed by the EU in Area C of the West Bank. This harks back to a report in November 2014 by the Israeli NGO Regavim, which draws a shocking parallel between the EU’s humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Area C and Israel’s building of settlements there. Assuming…Read More... | 15 Comments
Nobody ever thought the window for a two-state solution would ever truly close — or be closed. Benjamin Netanyahu just declared it so in a last-ditched attempt to rally his base ahead of elections. Forget whatever temporary crisis Benjamin Netanyahu created with the United States in his campaign speech on the Hill. If Netanyahu is re-elected on Tuesday, Israel is going to have a much more serious problem with Europe. In an interview with Israeli news site NRG one day before elections, the prime minister made clear what he has only hinted at and skirted around for years. [tmwinpost] The…Read More... | 7 Comments
If the European Union wants to play a more active role in Israel-Palestine peacemaking it should first articulate a common policy and decide whether it can continue playing second fiddle to Washington. By Charalampos Tsitsopoulos Much has been made of recent European initiatives to symbolically recognize a Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders. On December 17, 2014, a European Parliament resolution supported “in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood.” The move followed similar resolutions in individual European parliaments in previous months. Meanwhile, there was no shortage of commendation for European recognitions, welcomed by the Arab League as a measure that will “undoubtedly…Read More... | 1 Comment
While Israel's behavior has managed to antagonize many European countries, some former Soviet states have yet to take a stand against the occupation. That may just change soon enough. By Inna Michaeli The vile and repugnant behavior of Avigdor Liberman and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs toward Sweden (one of my favorite countries) has re-lit a spark of optimism. At least among those of us who hope that international pressure will force Israel to end the occupation. When it comes to international relations it isn't the human rights violations or war crimes that cause antagonism toward Israel. Rather, it is the…Read More... | 5 Comments
Photos by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Approximately 200 Sudanese asylum seekers marked International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Tuesday by demonstrating against the European Union's lack of action regarding Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The protest comes in the wake of the mass rape of hundreds of women and girls in Darfur at the hands of al-Bashir's soldiers over the last several months. The demonstrators marched from Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv to the building that houses the European Union delegation to Israel in Ramat Gan, demanding that the EU intervene in order to stop the…Read More...
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
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
Netanyahu, Bennett and Liberman used the most horrible sort of anti-Jewish attack as a shield against criticism of their anti-Palestinian policies. Right-wing Israeli leaders get away with such shameless political exploitation of Jewish tragedies, and no one calls them on it. Their use of the Holocaust is of course an old story; the new one is the way they've capitalized on the murders of four people, including a Tel Aviv couple, at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Saturday. Prime Minister Netanyahu said the killings were caused by “ceaseless incitement against Jews and their state. On European soil, tales and…Read More... | 39 Comments
Attendants at a conference on the peace process in Brussels couldn't believe their ears after what the representative of Israel's settler party had to say. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and MP Marietje Schaake of the Netherlands hosted an event in the European Parliament in Brussels on the European Union's role in the Israel/Palestine question. I participated in the first of two panels - below are some of my impressions from the day's events: This was the third discussion of this sort that I took part in within just three weeks. In that sense, I think that 2013 was…Read More... | 67 Comments
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