Annie Robbins reports that yesterday the European Union has, in a significant step, warned Israel that its continued expansion of illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories has consequences.
“Effective Friday, a new European Union directive with a “territorial clause” bans all EU funding of projects in territories occupied by Israel since the ’67 war: the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. The new directive (pdf), which covers all areas of co-operation between the EU and Israel, culture, academia, sports, economics and science, requires the Israeli government to “recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel.”
All Israeli settlements in the occupied territories violate international law and this kind of move by the EU is long overdue. According to the Guardian,
The EU guidelines will prohibit the issuing of grants, funding, prizes or scholarships unless a settlement exclusion clause is included. Israeli institutions and bodies situated across the pre-1967 Green Line – including the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed — will be automatically ineligible.
In order to secure agreements with the EU in the future, the Israeli government will be required to concede in writing that settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are outside the state of Israel.
As the directive emphasizes:
The EU does not recognise Israel’s sovereignty over any of the territories referred to in point
2 [Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem-MS] and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law. The EU has made it clear that it will not recognise any changes to pre-1967 borders, other than those agreed by the parties to the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP). The EU’s Foreign Affairs Council has underlined the importance of limiting the application of agreements with Israel to the territory of Israel as recognised by the EU.
Needless to say, the Israeli government and the settlers have reacted angrily, which is not at all surprising since they always react angrily to even the slightest suggestion that what they are doing in the occupied territories is illegal and creating an apartheid structure. This move by the EU has been described in Israel as an ‘earthquake’ and an emergency cabinet meeting was called to decide how to respond.
One can now expect the Israel lobby in the US to urge the Obama administration to put pressure on the EU to reverse or otherwise nullify this directive.