‘Delegitimisation’ of settlements by Europe ‘is the new antisemitism’
This posting has these items on the response in Israel to the EC guidelines on funding to Israel, plus Notes and links lists all previous posts on the EC guidelines for those for whom this is their specialist subject.
1) Israel Hayom: Settlers convene EU lawmakers for special debate on funding ban;
2) Arutz Sheva: 1,000 Jurists to EU: Settlements are Legal, using the Levy report, August 2013;
3) EU Observer: EU-Israel talks fail to agree on science funding, September 2013;
4) EJP: The EU sends senior diplomat to Israel to discuss implementation of new EU controversial guidelines , September 2013;
5) Notes and links, Levy report, the named petitioners;
The delegation in Brussels. Photo credit: Samaria Regional Council
Settlers convene EU lawmakers for special debate on funding ban
Settlers get EU’s Foreign Affairs Committee to hold first of its kind session on ways to avert the planned EU sanctions against Israeli settlements • MK Ayelet Shaked tells forum: Delegitimization of parts of Israel by Europe is the new anti-Semitism.
By Efrat Forsher, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
September 18, 2013
The European Union convened a special parliamentary session in Brussels on Tuesday to debate, for the first time, the ways in which the planned EU sanctions against Israeli settlements could be averted. The session, titled “EU-Israel relations: Impact of the new EU guidelines on Israel and their effects on the EU, Israeli and Palestinian economies,” was called at the request of representatives of the Judea and Samaria settlements.
Vice Chairman of the EU Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs Fiorello Provera headed the meeting, in which 15 European MPs heard Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika and his deputy Yossi Dagan, as well as Israeli Ambassador to the EU David Walzer and MKs Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu), detail their position on the matter.
The Israeli delegation arrived in Brussels following a Samaria Regional Council campaign that included hosting tours of Judea and Samaria for some 70 members of the EU parliament.
The Israeli delegates criticized the EU’s policies against the settlements, which they claimed are led by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Mesika and Dagan slammed the EU’s most recent directive, passed in mid-July, which called on the EU’s principal institutions and member nations to limit or suspend their economic, social and academic cooperation with Israeli institutions that operate in settlements.
Mesika said that “targeting products from Judea and Samaria will, first and foremost, hurt the Palestinians and the [Jewish-Arab] coexistence.” Dagan’s comments focused on the funding the Palestinian Authority provides to terrorists who have targeted Israelis.
Expressing concern over the possibility of increased rocket attacks against Israel, Shaked was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as telling the MPs, “Europe is forcing us to cede land in order to achieve the type of agreement it sees fit for the Middle East, and this will only mean that missiles will continue to rain down on Israel not only from Gaza, but from Qalqilya and Ramallah as well.”
According to the report, Shaked told the forum, “If Europe thinks Jews will return to the days where we were forced to mark our products — you can forget it. Delegitimization of parts of Israel by Europe is the new anti-Semitism. The old anti-Semitism led to the destruction of our people in gas chambers. We will not allow the new anti-Semitism to hurt us.”
Habayit Hayehudi’s MK further warned that “such conduct creates a sense among Israelis that Europe is lost, [that] it is occupied by the forces of radical Islam. If that’s the message you’ve been trying to send, you’re doing a good job in getting it across. I want you to understand that you are important to us. We hold your support in high regard, but you cannot push us to commit suicide,” she was quoted as saying.
Over the weekend U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with EU foreign ministers on Saturday, urged the EU to postpone its planned funding ban on the settlements.
A senior U.S. State Department official told reporters in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius that Kerry called on the Europeans to consider postponing the implementation of EU guidelines on aid. “There was strong support for his efforts and an openness to considering his requests,” he said.
Kerry, the official said, planned on stressing that “it’s important for those parties who have an interest in a successful outcome [to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations] that they be supportive of this effort and that they find a way to embrace the negotiators and encourage them to move forward, rather than, as it were metaphorically, bang them over the head.”
Asked for her response to Kerry’s request, Ashton told reporters the guidelines were simply “putting down on paper what is currently the EU position.”
Ashton announced, however, that the EU would send a team, headed by a senior EU diplomat, to Israel on Monday to make sure the implementation of the new guidelines was done sensitively. “We of course want to continue having a strong relationship with Israel,” she said.
The EU team would talk to the Israelis about implementation of the new guidelines but not about renegotiating them, an EU source said.
Mammoth petition delivered to Catherine Ashton states: ‘1967 lines’ don’t exist.
By Gil Ronen, Arutz Sheva
August 04, 2013
A mammoth jurists’ petition delivered to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton states that the EU is wrong in holding that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are illegal, and that the term “1967 lines” does not exist in international law.
The letter is signed by over 1,000 jurists worldwide.
Among the signatories are former justice minister Prof. Yaakov Ne’eman; former UN Ambassador Dr. Meir Rosen; Britain’s Baroness Prof. Ruth Deech, Prof. Eliav Shochetman and Prof. Talia Einhorn. They include legal scholars from the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Malta, Holland, Norway, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan, South Africa, Sweden and, of course, Israel.
The man behind the initiative is Dr. Alan Baker, Israel’s former ambassador to Canada and legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry, who currently heads the International Action Division of the Legal Forum for Israel.
Baker was also a member of the three-person committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Edmond Levy, known as the Levy Committee, which pronounced that Judea and Samaria were not occupied territory.*
Dr. Baker explained to Arutz Sheva that there is “no such thing” as the 1967 lines. “There never was such a thing. The matter of the borders is on the agenda of the negotiations, The EU cannot dictate a subject that is on the agenda of the negotiations. The pre-1967 lines are (1949) armistice lines. These are not recognized lines or security lines. In the Oslo process, it was agreed between us and the Palestinians that the matter of borders will be negotiated. The term ‘1967 lines’ does not appear anywhere in our agreement with the Palestinians, therefore it is a legal and factual aberration to determine that these are our lines.”
“The second thing is the determination that the settlements are illegal according to international law. It is true that most of the world thinks so, but that does not make it true legally. Legally, the clause in the Geneva Convention that they use to say that settlements are illegal, was not intended to refer to cases like our settlements, but to prevent the forced transfer of populations by the Nazis. This is not relevant to the Israeli
Text of petition
To H.E. Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs
Re: EU directive regarding Israeli settlements
We, the undersigned, attorneys from across the world who are involved in international law issues as well as being closely concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, respectfully call upon you and the EU to revoke the abovementioned directive which we feel is based on legally flawed and incorrect assumptions regarding both the legality of Israel’s settlements and the status of the pre-1967 Armistice lines as Israel’s border.
Furthermore, the reasoning behind the directive summarily ignores the historic and legal rights of Israel and the Jewish people in and to the areas of Judea and Samaria, including the internationally acknowledged rights of the Jewish people as the indigenous people of the area.
The long-held view of the EU as to the illegality of Israel’s settlements is a misreading of the relevant provisions of international law, and specifically Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which is neither relevant to the unique circumstances of Israel’s status in the area, nor was it ever applicable, or intended to apply to Israel’s circumstances in Judea and Samaria.
The EU together with other international bodies has consistently ignored authoritative sources, including the 1958 official commentary by International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as the published opinions of prominent international jurists**, all of which explain the provenance of Article 49 in the need to address deportations, forced migration, evacuation, displacement, and expulsion of over 40 million people by the Nazis during the Second World War. This has no relevance to Israel’s settlements in Judea and Samaria.
The EU totally ignores the very agreement to which it is signatory as witness, the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, in which it was agreed by the parties, pending a permanent status agreement, to exercise powers and authority in the areas under their respective control. Such powers include planning, zoning and construction. The issues of settlements and Jerusalem, as agreed upon between the parties, are negotiating issues, and hence, determinations by the EU undermine the negotiating process and run against the EU’s status as signatory.
The legality of Israel’s presence in the area stems from the historic, indigenous and legal rights of the Jewish people to settle in the area, as granted in valid and binding international legal instruments recognized and accepted by the international community. These rights cannot be denied or placed in question. This includes the 1922 San Remo Declaration unanimously adopted by the League of Nations, affirming the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People in the historical area of the Land of Israel (including the areas of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem) as well as close Jewish settlement throughout. This was subsequently affirmed internationally in the League of Nations Mandate Instrument, and accorded continued validity, up to the present day, by Article 80 of the UN Charter which reaffirmed the validity of the rights granted to all states or peoples, or already existing international instruments (including those adopted by the League of Nations).
The inference regarding Israel’s borders as recognized by the EU is no less misguided and historically and legally wrong. The pre-1967 Armistice lines (so-called “green” line) were never considered to be borders. UN Security Council resolution 242 (1967), endorsed by the European members of the Council, called for “secure and recognized boundaries” to replace the pre-1967 Armistice lines. The European leaders further endorsed this principle in their 1980 Venice Declaration. By its persistence in referring to the pre-1967 lines, the EU is undermining future negotiation on this issue by predetermining its outcome.
In a similar vein, the repeated use by the EU of the term “occupied Arab” or “Palestinian territories” to refer to the area of Judea and Samaria, has no basis in law or fact. The area has never been determined as such, and thus the continued EU usage of the term runs against the very concept of negotiations to resolve the dispute regarding these areas, supported by the EU, to determine their permanent status.
The position taken by the EU and the action presently being taken pursuant to its directive, regarding Israel’s settlements in Judea and Samaria, is, in our view, incompatible with the EU’s standing as a member of the international Quartet, and serves to neutralize any pretentions it might have to serve a useful function in the negotiating process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Frankly, the EU cannot, in all sincerity, presume to come with clean hands and claim to be an impartial element in the negotiating process. The EU has taken sides and as such, in its actions against Israel, it is undermining the negotiating process.
The position and actions of the EU against Israel are all the more unfortunate and regrettable in light of the tragic Jewish history in Europe, which cannot be ignored or forgotten. One might have expected that realization of this factor would guide the wisdom and logic of the actions of the EU.
Signed by jurists and international lawyers [see Notes and links]
By Andrew Rettman, EU Observer
September 13, 2013
BRUSSELS – EU and Israeli negotiators in Brussels on Thursday (12 September) failed to agree on new funding rules, but identified “options” on making them easier for Israel to swallow.
The talks, involving dozens of officials and diplomats from both sides, centred on Israel’s participation in Horizon 2020.
The EU’s €80 billion science scheme runs from 1 January 2014 for seven years.
But Israel has said it will not take part under new rules, published in July, which oblige its firms and institutions to sign documents saying EU money will not fund activity on occupied land.
The European Commission noted on Thursday that “each side will go back to consult and check the various options discussed today,” with a view to holding more talks “as soon as possible.”
An earlier meeting between EU and Israeli diplomats in Jerusalem on Tuesday also failed to reach agreement.
But an EU spokeswoman said the Jerusalem talks were “fruitful” and that both sides “expressed their willingness to find solutions.”
For his part, the Greek ambassador to Israel, Spiros Lampridis, told Israeli daily the Jerusalem Post he sympathises with his host country.
“If I put myself in the Israeli shoes I can see why they are not able to sign it … our task as European states is to find alternatives to make this thing workable,” he said.
Israel has lobbied EU foreign ministries and the US state department to make Brussels postpone the measures.
It says it cannot sign EU grant papers saying East Jerusalem, for example, is part of Palestine at the same time as negotiating final borders with Palestine in ongoing peace talks.
US secretary of state John Kerry urged EU ministers at a meeting in Vilnius last Saturday to put off the rules.
But his appeal had limited impact.
When EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton briefed ambassadors in the EU’s political and security committee in Brussels on Monday, “she said there is no suggestion of changing the EU’s policy,” an EU diplomat told this website.
The EU estimates that 0.3 percent, or €2.5 million, of the €800-million-or-so it paid to Israel in 2007 to 2013 funded settler activity.
But under old rules it has no way to claim the money back even though it violates the EU position on Israel’s borders.
Meanwhile, Israeli opinion is split on the subject.
In July, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We will not accept any external dictates regarding borders.”
But on Wednesday over 600 Israeli intellectuals, former officials and activists, including Netanyahu’s sister-in-law Ofra Ben-Artzi, sent a petition to EU officials urging them not to give way.
They said Israel’s threat to stay out of Horizon 2020 is a “tactical manoeuvre,” which would be “to Israel’s own great detriment” if it follows through.
By Yossi Lempkowicz, European Jewish Press (EJP)
September 09, 2013
Under the new guidelines, published in July and to take effect in January 2014, Israeli entities based beyond the Green Line would be prohibited from receiving grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the EU budget.
BRUSSELS/VILNIUS—US Secretary of State John Kerry has called on the EU to postpone a ban on EU financial support for Israeli entities in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in order to avoid any moves that could complicate current peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
He made the request when he met the EU Foreign Ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Saturday. During the meeting, he called on the EU to support Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which resumed on July 29 after nearly three-year, under US umbrella.
In July, the EU issued new guidelines banning Israeli entities located beyond the Green Line from EU grants, prizes or loans. The guidelines called, among other elements, for Israel to sign a ‘’territorial clause’’ before entering into any new agreements with the EU that would say that the agreement is inapplicable in east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or the Wesyt Bank.
According to a senior US State Department official quoted by Reuters, “there was strong support among EU ministers for Kerry’s efforts and an openness to considering his requests.”
The guidelines angered Israel’s government and brought tensions in EU-Israel relations, with with Israeli Prime Minister guidelines declaring that the EU move harmed Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
Palestinians praised the guidelines as a concrete step against settlement construction.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, while stressing that the guidelines were simply “putting down on paper what is currently the EU position,’’ also announced at a press conference in Vilnius, after meeting with Kerry, that the EU would send a delegation to Israel on Monday to discuss with the Israeli authorities about the implementation of the guidelines which are due to take effect on January 1, 2014.
She said the EU wouldn’t withdraw its plan to prevent EU budget funds reaching the settlements but wants to ensure that the guidelines are applied “very sensitively.”
“We of course want to continue having a strong relationship with Israel,” Ashton she said.
An Israeli foreign ministry official said the EU delegation is expected on Tuesday to give clarifications that will “ease our minds” on how to the policy will be carried out without blocking EU collaboration with major Israeli research universities.
“I have a sense that this is going in a positive way,” the foreign ministry official said.
The EU delegation will be led by a senior EU diplomat, Pierre Vimont, Executive Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s diplomatic service led by Ashton.
The EU and Israel began in July talks over Horizon 2020, the 80-billion euros ($107 billion) EU’s innovation and research flagship program aimed at fueling economic growth and creating jobs.
The new EU ‘settlement guidelines’ could jeopardize an agreement on Israel’s participation in it. Israel is the only non-EU country that has been asked to join Horizon 2020 as a full partner.
The EU and Israel are linked by an Association Agreement.
Notes and links
* The Levy Report
Extensive critiques of the legal and political reasoning of the Levy report were published in July 2012. See these links:
Panel tells Netanyahu West Bank not occupied land so all settlements are legal, July 2012
Defiance of law, case for one state, proof of apartheid: responses to Levy July 2012
The Jurists’ petition seems to have sunk without trace. The full list of signatories has not been published.
Yaakov Neeman. Chosen by Benjamin Netanyahu is his Minister of Justice in 2009 despite Neeman’s several brushes with the law and despite, or because of, his close friendship with Avigdor Lieberman. Very religious zionist and was widely quoted in 2009 as saying he wanted to apply halachic law to the whole of Israel. He denied saying this after a wide furore.
Ruth Deech was made a Life Peer in 2005. She is a former member of the Jewish Leadership Council, former chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, 1995-2002, and former Principal of St Anne’s college Oxford. She is well-known for her strong pro-Israeli views.
Talia Einhornis Talia Einhorn, Professor of Law at Ariel University Department of Economics and Business Management. (The University in the illegal Ariel settlement is not recognised internationally and many Israeli academics have refused to work there on principle..) She established her stance in a 2003 paper The Status of Palestine/Land of Israel and Its Settlement Under Public International Law which “shows that the Arab claim that there is a legal right to a separate Arab state to be established in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip …, whereas Jews are forbidden by public international law precepts from settling there, and the further claim that all Arabs who can trace their origins to pre-1967 Israel have a right to return to Israel, have no basis in international law.” Also wrote a paper The Role of the Free Trade Agreement between Israel and the EEC: the Legal Framework for Trading with Israel between Theory and Practice (Baden-Baden 1994).
Dr Alan Baker
British born Alan Baker was a military prosecutor and senior legal adviser in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and represented the Ministry of Defence at international conferences, and then joined the Foreign Ministry as legal adviser. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinians. In January 2012 he was appointed by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to the three member committee chaired by former Justice Edmund Levy to examine the legal aspects of land ownership in the West Bank. The committee’s report, referred to as Levy Report, was published by the Israeli government in Hebrew in July 2012.
From Wikipedia: Ambassador to the US, 1983-1987. 1989-1994, Israel Bonds Organization. Active with various Zionist organizations. He is known for supporting Israeli policies regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in his writings and activities worldwide.
Prof Eliav Shochetman is best known for his work on applying Jewish law to all citizens of Israel and on Civil Procedure in Rabbinical Courts. He was a member of the committee for procedural regulations in the Rabbinical Courts.
Previous posts Oldest first
EC guidelines on EU funds for Israeli bodies, July 13, 2013;
Netanyahu bends to blame EU for Kerry’s failure, July 18th, 2013;
From now on EU aid workers to Palestine are ‘just tourists’, July 26th, 2013;
EU stands up to Israel – and the USA, July 31st, 2013;
Foreign ministry wants to know who to blame for not taking EC seriously, August 2nd, 2013;
Israel’s reputation for innovation at stake in EU’s Horizon 2020, August 5th, 2013;
Heard it through the grapevine, August 14th, 2013;
Fall-out in Israel over exclusion from EU, September 4th, 2013;
Behind the scenes of the EC Guidelines, September 15th, 2013;
Eminent Europeans and Israelis urge EC not to go soft on Guidelines, September 16th, 2013;
US led the way in banning science grants for Israel’s outlawed bodies, July-September, 2013;
Dutch firm pulls out of Israeli contract – it breaches international law, September 20th, 2013