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
An expanded panel of nine justices of the Israeli High Court of Justice will hear a petition against the "anti-boycott law" Sunday morning, which several NGOs are arguing silences debate on one of the most important and divisive issues in Israeli society. Passed by the Knesset in 2011, the law, formally known as the "Law for Prevention of Damage to State of Israel through Boycott," allows those who feel they have been harmed by a boycott - whether against Israel or an Israeli institution or territory (i.e. the settlements in the West Bank) - to sue the person or organization who…Read More... | 13 Comments
The two parties haven’t met in almost a month, and Israeli politicians are now openly discussing the success of maintaining the status quo. Even the crisis with the European Union is over. Roughly halfway through the current round of negotiations, the talks between Israeli and Palestinians negotiators have hit a new low point. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told A-Shams Radio station that the two teams haven’t met since November 5th. He added that the talks are so futile that Palestinians are better off turning to the UN right away. Erekat also recently submitted his resignation to Palestinian Authority President…Read More... | 24 Comments
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
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
The European Union says that contrary to reports, its new settlement guidelines don't require Israeli entities to stop operating beyond Green Line. The EU delegation in Israel sent me a response to my item (and the Maariv piece I quoted) regarding changes to the new guidelines on ties with Israeli institutions that operate beyond the Green Line. In short, the claim is that the original guidelines were never meant to limit activities beyond the Green Line - only to make sure that European grants and prizes are not part of such projects. The demand from Israelis entities not to operate…Read More... | 3 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
A lie travels around the world while the truth looks for a Wi-Fi connection. Sometimes, it finds it. This blog's favorite fibber organization, NGO Monitor - you may remember them from such classic favorites as distributing Hasbara lies about the UN Human Rights Commission, using a Trojan horse inside Wikipedia, as well as just stupid negligence - pounced on the tunnel that was found this week near Ein Hashlosha. The organization quickly took to twitter, saying "So, #Hamas terror tunnel was built w/concrete from #Israel, sent b/c of UN & NGO pressure. Thanks @Gisha_Access". Lies have the speed advantage: in a…Read More... | 25 Comments
Whatever he tells the UN, Rouhani will not agree to give up nuclear weapons to please his country's nuclear-armed enemies. And when it's clear that he won't, it's his enemies who will face humiliation. I don’t believe Rouhani means it when he says Iran doesn’t want nuclear weapons. And even if he does, I don’t believe the supreme leader, Khamenei, would back him up, nor would the Iranian political/military establishment, nor would a very large proportion of the Iranian public, maybe a majority, maybe a large majority. Why shouldn’t Iran want nuclear weapons? Every major power and would-be major power wants…Read More... | 50 Comments
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Anyone who speaks for Palestine & condones anti-semitism should not be speaking for Palestinians, says @YasmeenSerhan http://t.co/fBXTB86Xmo
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Anti-Semitism has no place in Palestine advocacy, says @YasmeenSerhan http://t.co/O6QUx8rehz