Netanyahu versus the EU

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File

"This is the chronicle of a crisis foretold years in advance," said the Israeli ex-ambassador to Germany, in that petulant tone of a diplomat working very hard not to sound infuriated. Shimon Stein was trying to explain new European Union sanctions against Israeli settlements. Neither journalists nor politicians should sound so shocked by the EU move, he lectured the anchor of state radio's morning news program. He was right, but he was trying to outshout a hurricane of public anger and disbelief. The anchor herself had begun the show with a riff of indignant surprise that the EU considered her Israeli neighborhood in East Jerusalem to be a settlement.

Of course, the EU position has consistently been that the country called Israel is defined by its pre-1967 borders, or Green Line—and that anything built beyond those borders is not part of Israel. The sanctions are designed to give more teeth to that position. Under new budget guidelines, EU bodies must make sure not to fund any Israeli activities in occupied territory. Any future agreements between the European Union and Israel must explicitly state that they apply only within the pre-'67 lines. Let's be clear: This is not an economic boycott of Israel, nor a declaration that Israel is an apartheid state. Rather, the EU is drawing the distinction between legitimate Israel and illegitimate settlements with a thick marker. In the sanctions debate, the Europeans are taking a moderate stance: pro-Israel, anti-occupation.

Such subtleties do not reassure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or the rightists who dominate his government, or West Bank settlers. The new guidelines will be issued officially tomorrow, but the daily Ha'aretz got the document and published the news on Tuesday. The hurricane struck immediately. Netanyahu held a panicked meeting with top ministers and officials, and emerged to tell the media, "We will not accept any outside diktat about our borders." Economics Minister Naftali Bennett described the European measures as "an economic terror attack." (Bennett, leader of a pro-settlement party and a proponent of partial annexation of the West Bank, had said on national radio just a week before that in meetings around the globe, he has found that the world is interested only in "prices, economics, industry and growth"—not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.) The head of a regional council of settlements—the rough equivalent of a county government, but one in which settlers are represented and Palestinians are not—denounced the EU's "blatant and unprecedented intervention in the affairs of an independent and democratic state." Columnist Nadav Haetzni, striking a common theme on the right, said Europe was again expressing the "wholesale hatred" of Jews that it had shown "from the Middle Ages until the Holocaust."

In reality, the new guidelines are significant precisely because of the otherwise warm ties between Israel and the EU—indeed, by some descriptions, uniquely close ties for a non-European country. The European Union has had free-trade agreements with Israel since 1975, and is Israel's largest trading partner. Grants and investments by EU bodies and by member-states have become an essential source of funding for technological development and for research projects ranging from the hard sciences to ancient history. Israel is expecting to be a partner in the EU's next massive seven-year research and development program, Horizon 2020, as it has in previous programs.

But the Horizon 2020 agreement has not yet been signed. Under the new guidelines, the accord will have to specify that it applies only to sovereign Israel, within the pre-1967 lines. It's not yet clear whether the new EU policy will disqualify only Israeli research projects that themselves take place in occupied territory—or any project based in a university that is otherwise involved in research beyond the Green Line. In the later case, for instance, Tel Aviv University would either have to pull out of an archaeological dig at the City of David site in East Jerusalem or forfeit all EU grants. To add to the uncertainty, EU member-states aren't obligated to follow the guidelines, but some are expected to do so. The principle is simple: Intense European cooperation will continue, as long as it's with Israel, not with the realm of the settlements.

The fact that Netanyahu and other top officials were taken by surprise makes even less sense than Bennett's accusation of "economic terror." As declassified documents show, the Foreign Ministry's legal adviser warned that the world would regard settlements as illegal even before the government approved the first one in the West Bank in 1967. The justice minister at the time warned that keeping the West Bank permanently, without giving Israeli citizenship to Palestinian residents, would be seen internationally as colonialism.

In 1986, when Industry Minister Ariel Sharon was building industrial parks in occupied territory, a diplomat at what was then the European Community chancery in Tel Aviv told me that the EC-Israel free-trade pact clearly applied "only to goods made in Israel," not to products from the West Bank. Back then, though, the EC hadn't started checking where imports marked "Made in Israel" were produced. Eventually, slowly, politely, European patience wore thin. In 2005, under EU pressure, Israel signed an agreement requiring it to label exports with the postal (zip) code of where they were produced. European customs officials were given a list of postal codes for occupied territory. Last year, the EU made the list public. In May, the EU postponed an expected decision to require products from settlements to be labeled as such explicitly. The delay reportedly came at Washington's request, to allow Secretary of State John Kerry time to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The new restrictions on funding fit the same trend of rising European frustration—and the same effort by Israel's friends to aim economic sanctions only at settlements. Europe is still giving Israel a chance to reach a two-state agreement.

Netanyahu, Bennett, and others on the right can proclaim that the Green Line belongs to the past. But if the government refuses to join Horizon 2020, it will starve the research and development that powers the Israeli economy. Netanyahu can tell the public that he won't accept "diktats." The business community, especially the high-tech sector, will be harder to convince. The crisis long foretold has arrived.

Comments

Israel knew the day would come despite their pretend surprise. How did they last so long creeping over the land instead of being forced to fight for it? Time to get real in Israel.

Um, they DID fight for it.
1947-8, 1967, The War of Attrition (1967–1970), 1973.

Please pay attention.

May I respectfully draw attention to the following please. Please accept my apologies if it is long. God bless you all.
* The UN view of the Palestinian Territories can be seen at
the following URL: http://unispal.un.org/pdfs/OCH....
* The West Bank and East Jerusalem is occupied Palestine (bilaterally recognised by 132 nations in the world including India, China, Russia, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Iceland).
* Palestine is officially a non-member State and recognised by the UN. 138 nations supported Pales-tine last November in its successful bid for statehood. France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Greece, Cyprus and Malta were among many European nations to support Palestine. Their vote for Palestine was important as were those cast by India, China, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand who supported Palestine too. The Secretary General of the UN and Vatican Church wel-comed the re-birth of Palestine.
* However, Palestine (West Bank and East Jerusalem) is still illegally held and sadly Israel's Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu has ignored the ruling of the International Court of Justice (subsequently sup-ported by the UN and EU) with respect to the "separation barrier". This "wall" is 3 times the length of the Berlin Wall.
* UNESCO’s recognition of Palestine in 2011 was supported by France, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Greece and other European nations.
* Please also see UNSC Resolution 478 concerning Jerusalem. The 4th Geneva Convention is appli-cable to all the Palestinian Territories.
* International law and UN Resolutions (over which there are over 150) are ignored by Israel's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
* UN Resolutions specify Israel's illegal hold of the Palestinian Territories to be a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention and as such is a War Crime under international law. More so now, that settle-ments are being placed in another nation.
Yours sincerely
Anthony
*** UN Security Council Resolution 478 (1980) of 20 August
1980 - BINDING
The Security Council, recalling its resolution 476 (1980);
reaffirming again that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible;
deeply concerned over the enactment of a "basic law" in the Israeli
Knesset proclaiming a change in the character and status of the Holy City of
Jerusalem, with its implications for peace and security; noting that Israel has
not complied with resolution 476 (1980); reaffirming its determination to
examine practical ways and means, in accordance with the relevant provisions of
the Charter of the United Nations, to secure the full implementation of its
resolution 476 (1980), in the event of non-compliance by Israel ; Censures in
the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the "basic law" on
Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions;
http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL....
*** Resolution 694 (1991) - BINDING
Adopted by the Security Council at its 2989th meeting on 24
May 1991
The Security Council,
Reaffirming its resolution 681 (1990),
Having learned with deep concern and consternation that Israel has, in violation of its obligations un-der the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and acting in opposition to relevant Security Council resolutions, and to the detriment of efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, deported four Palestinian civilians on 18 May 1991,
1. Declares that the action of the Israeli authorities of deporting four Palestinians on 18 May is in vio-lation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which is applicable to all the Palestinian territories
occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;
2. Deplores this action and reiterates that Israel, the occupying Power, refrain from deporting any Palestinian civilian from the occupied territories and ensure the save and immediate return of all those
deported;
3. Decides to keep the situation under review.

*** Resolution 672 (1990) - BINDING
Adopted by the Security Council at its 2948th meeting on 12 October 1990
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolutions 476 (1980) and 478 (1980),
Reaffirming that a just and lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict must be based on its resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) through an active negotiating process which takes into account the right
to security for all States in the region, including Israel, as well as the legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people,
Taking into consideration the statement of the Secretary-General relative to the purpose of the mis-sion he is sending to the region and conveyed to the Council by the President on 12 October 1990,
1. Expresses alarm at the violence which took place on 8 October at the Al Haram al Shareef and other Holy Places of Jerusalem resulting in over twenty Palestinian deaths and to the in-jury of more than one hundred and fifty people, including Palestinian civilians and innocent worshippers;
2. Condemns especially the acts of violence committed by the Israeli security forces resulting in inju-ries and loss of human life;
3. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which is applicable to all the territories occupied by
Israel since 1967;
4. Requests, in connection with the decision of the Secretary-General to send a mission to the region, which the Council welcomes, that he submit a report to it before the end of October 1990 containing his
findings and conclusions and that he use as appropriate all the resources of the United Nations in the region in carrying out the mission.
24th April 2012 – UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
“I strongly condemn the Israeli government’s decision yesterday to turn three illegal outposts in the West Bank into settlements. I urged the Israeli government in my statement on 5 April to remove - not
legalise - outposts across the West Bank”.
Furthermore, I would like to refer you to specific serious concerns raised by the International Court of Justice (2004) - with relevance to the ‘security barrier’ - which was viewed with alarm by the interna-tional community. Incidentally the reference to the illegality of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem was also reinforced when the International Court of Justice also found the following (in-deed the EU supported the UN vote pertaining to the ‘security barrier’):
* That the separation barrier is intended to assist the settlements, the establishment of which violates Article 49 of the Convention. Also, the court pointed out that the restrictions placed on the local population located between the barrier and the Green Line are liable to lead to abandonment of the land, which also constitutes a violation of Article 49. In addition, the opinion stated that taking control of private land to build the barrier injured private property owners, and thus violated Articles 46 and 52 of the Hague Regulations of 1907 and of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Some other key UN Security Council Resolutions on Palestine – BINDING AND INTERNATIONAL LAW (there are over 150 UN Resolutions)
252 (21 May 1968)

Urgently calls upon Government of Israel to rescind measures that change the legal status of Jerusalem, including the expropriation of land and properties thereon.

262 (31 December 1968)

Calls upon Government of Israel to pay compensation to Lebanon for the destruction of airliners at Beirut International Airport.

267 (3 July 1969)

Expects Israel rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem.

271 (15 September 1969)

Expects the demand that Government of Israel rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem.

298 (25 September 1971)

Expects the demand that Government of Israel rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem.

446 (22 March 1979)

Calls on Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction, and planning of settlements in the Palestinian Territories, occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.

452 (20 July 1979)

Expects Israel cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction, and planning of settlements in the Palestinian Territories, occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.

465 (1 March 1980)

Expects Israel cease, the establishment, construction, and planning of illegal settlements in the Palestinian Territories, occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.

471 (5 June 1980)

Demands prosecution of those involved in the assassination attempt of West Bank leaders and compensation for damages; Expects demands to comply by Fourth Geneva Convention.

484 (19 December 1980)

Expects Israeli compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

573 (4 October 1985)

Condemns the Government of Israeli with respect to the attack in Tunisia. Call on Israel to pay compensation for human and material losses from its attack and to refrain from all such attacks or threats of attacks against other nations.

592 (8 December 1986)

Demands Israel comply with the Fourth Geneva Conventions in all Occupied Palestinian Territories including East Jerusalem.

605 (22 December 1987)

Calls upon the Government of Israel, the Occupying Power, to comply by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

607 (5 January 1988)

Expects Israel to comply with the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as cease its practice of deportations from the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

608 (14 January 1988), 636 (6 July 1989), 641 (30 August 1989)

Expects that Israel cease the deportations of Palestinian people from the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

672 (12 October 1990)

Expects Israel to comply by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

673 (24 October 1990)

Demands that the Israel come into compliance with UN Resolution 672.

681 (20 December 1990)

Expects Israel to comply with the Fourth Geneva Convention with respect to the Occupied Palestinian Territories including East Jerusalem.

694 (24 May 1991)

Expects that Israel stop Palestinian civilian deportation from the Occupied Palestinian Territories and ensure the safe and immediate return of deportees.

726 (6 January 1992)

Expects Israel to comply with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and to cease its deportation practice from Occupied Palestinian Territories.

799 (18 December 1992)

Reaffirms Fourth Geneva Convention to all Palestinian Territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem. Also affirms that deportation of civilians constitutes a contravention of its obligations under the Convention.

904 (18 March 1994)

Israel is called upon, as the occupying power, to take and implement measures, inter alia, confiscation of arms, with the aim of preventing illegal acts of violence by settlers.

1073 (28 September 1996)

Calls on the safety and security of Palestinian civilians to be ensured.

1322 (7 October 2000)

Calls upon Israel to comply with the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the responsibilities of the occupying power in the Palestinian Territories.

1402 (30 March 2002)

Calls for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian cities.

1403 (4 April 2002)

Demands that the Government of Israel go through with the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1402.

1405 (19 April 2002)

UN inspector call to investigate civilian deaths during Israel’s assault on the Palestinian Jenin refugee camp.

1435 (24 September 2002)

Calls on Israel to withdraw to positions of September 2000 and end its military activities in and around Ramallah, including the destruction of security and civilian infrastructure.

I am not sure that this will be a fair war, EU is the best. yachtcharter sardinien

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