European Union getting fed up with Israeli colonization of the Occupied Territories

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.


  1. troll says

    It’s unfortunate that the chances of the US doing something similar are indistinguishable from zero.

  2. sailor1031 says

    The new rules would act to keep the Palestinians away from the negotiation table, Elkin said, and added that Israel should respond to the pressure by withdrawing potential gestures to the Palestinians that were aimed at bringing them to the talks.

    “If they go forward, there’s no reason to continue with the gestures,” he said.

    What gestures is Bibi talking about? Is it one finger or two in Israel? This may be the lamst excuse yet that the Israelis have given for walking away from so-called “peace talks”. These guys are first-class bullshit artists – that’s fer sure.

  3. MNb says

    “the Obama administration to put pressure on the EU”
    I doubt it. Netanyahu is not dumb; he knows Obama won’t feel like and also know that the EU won’t listen anyway. The EU is a strange beast. If there is concensus it can withstand any pressure. If the EU is divided it’s teethless.
    So I predict that Netanyahu will try to cause discord; when he fails he will just turn his back and hope to get American compensation.

  4. curcuminoid says

    There’s no real chance of the Israeli government capitulating entirely, but they might try for a compromise.

    Recognizing the West Bank and Gaza Strip are not part of Israel is not controversial for most Israeli’s.

    Resistance to recognizing the Golan Heights is not Israeli will be slightly greater, since the primary reason it was occupied after the 6 Day War was a belligerent Syria had been using it to shell northern Israel, and Israeli-Syrian relations aren’t exactly friendly now either.

    Saying the settlements aren’t part of Israel is going to anger settlers because they live there, not necessarily because they agree with settlements being used as part of an expansionist policy by the Israeli government. Israel might still do what the EU wants there, since most Israelis don’t see any actual function to the settlement policy.

    There’s basically no way in hell Israel is going to say East Jerusalem isn’t part of it because of the cultural importance of the Jerusalem particularly the Old City (which was (re)captured in the 67 war), since there is such a large Israeli population in the city, and because of the weird status the city has (supposed to be international, but the UN didn’t follow up on that so Jordan annexed part of it in 48, then Israel annexed it from them in 67). The city would also get split along a very arbitrary and disruptive border.

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