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Catherine Ashton

  • How will the EU elections affect Israel-Palestine?

    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…

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  • The downfall of Avigdor Liberman

    Without a distinct ideology or the support of Israel’s ultra-right, the days of Liberman dominating political headlines may soon be over. By Aaron Magid On the night of the 2009 election as Avidgor Liberman’s party jumped to unprecedented power with 15 seats, the popular Israeli satirical show "Eretz Nehederet" depicted Liberman ominously. Both Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni huddled around Liberman begging for his support while Liberman surrounded by black clad bodyguards shot at Netanyahu’s foot to grab his attention. "The elections were a marvelous experience and they were also a final experience. There will be no more elections,” Liberman declared with the…

  • European MPs to Ashton: Make Israel pay for settlements

    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…

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  • Report: EU to bypass its own anti-settlements guidelines

    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…

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  • Delaying EU settlement rules 'reinforces Israeli intransigence'

    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…

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  • Why the EU shouldn't amend its new settlement guidelines

    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…

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  • Former senior EU officials: 'Oslo process has nothing more to offer'

    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…

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  • As Palestinian hunger strikes come to a head, world begins to take notice

    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…

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  • WATCH: Ukrainians vote in 'test for democracy'

    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,…

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  • Catherine Ashton can only blame herself: A response to Ami Kaufman

    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…

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