Sunday, July 28, 2013

Israel Puts Its Foot Down and Stands Up To The EU's Arbitrary Guidelines

After the EU released its guidelines for denying funding for groups and organizations with connections with Judea and Samaria (West Bank), suggestions were put forward for what Israel should do in response.

The Jewish Press offered ideas for How the EU Will Reverse Itself, in Three Easy Steps

  • Israel should expel the EU from the Peace Process.

  • Israel must make it clear that any NGOs receiving EU funding are de facto foreign agents. These NGOs fund raising will be curtailed, their access to Israeli government officials would be restricted, and their entry into the Knesset will be forbidden.

  • In response to the potential lost of some of the close to 1 billion dollars in research grants and investments EU invests,Israel should approach private, patriotic wealthy Jews to pick up the slack.
Along similar lines, Carolone Glick also offered 3 suggestions on How to respond to EU sanctions
  • Swift passage in the Knesset of a law requiring all Israeli entities that agree to operate under the EU's funding guidelines to register as foreign agents and report all EU contributions...Those contributions should be taxed at the highest corporate tax rate.

  • Suspend all EU projects in Area C. Future EU projects should be subject to intense scrutiny by the civil administration. Israel's default position should be to reject, rather than approve, such requests, given their hostile intent.

  • Finally, EU peacekeeping forces from Gaza to Lebanon to Syria have repeatedly proven not only their cowardice, but their willingness to act in ways that endanger Israel in order to protect themselves...Given this track record, Israel should bar European forces from further participation in armed forces in Israel
It looks like this time around, Israel is not going to sit around and do nothing about the EU attempting to bypass previous agreements signed -- and ignored -- by the Abbas regime.

For beginners, there were reports that Israel Threatens EU Prestige and Success with Pullout:
According to a report in Ma’ariv, Israel has threatened to pull out of the EU’s massive science and technology project, “Horizon 2020″.

Israel is the only non-European full partner in the project, and is supposed to invest 600 million Euro (785 million US dollars) in the project over 7 years.

Besides the financial hit the EU project would take as a result, the move would be a serious blow to the project’s prestige and success. Israel is a central partner in the projects that Horizon 2020 undertakes, and part of these project’s successes are dependent on Israeli human resources and research.
And just this past Friday real steps were taken as 'Ya'alon orders freeze in permits for EU projects in West Bank'
Israel has severed cooperation with the European Union in Area C of the West Bank in response to new measures the EU has taken against settlements.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the IDF’s civil administration to cease cooperation in joint projects with the EU, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

This means that the IDF will refuse to grant new permits or renew existing permits for EU construction projects in Area C, which is territory under Israeli civil and military control. It also will not issue or renew any documents that EU personnel might need for travel in the West Bank or into Gaza from Israel.

In addition, IDF offices in the West Bank, such as the civil administration and the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, will no longer hold work meetings with EU officials or personnel.
It didn't take long for the EU to sit up and take notice. It is already being reported that EU concerned by Israel's restrictions of union's WB, Gaza activity:
Spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, responded Friday to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's decision to suspend contacts with the EU in the West Bank, saying "The EU is concerned by reports in the Israeli media that the Israeli Minister of Defense has announced a number of restrictions affecting EU activities supporting the Palestinian people."
Catherine Ashton
European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton
Turns out that playing politics has consequences.
Credit: Wiki Commons
Ashton neglects the fact that the over 35,000 Palestinian Arabs working in Israeli settlements will find their livelihood at risk because of the EU's arbitrary measures.

As has already been pointed out by international law professor Eugene Kontorowich, the EU's arbitrary guidelines against Israel are political and not based on international law:
Moreover, the guidelines contain a massive exception that undermines the notion that this is about international law rather than EU foreign policy. Article 15 exempts groups that “promot[e] the Middle East peace process in line with EU policy.” Either the Geneva Conventions and related rules prevent Israelis from having anything to do with the West Bank or they do not – but they certainly do not contain a “things the EU likes” exception. The exemption reveals the true purpose of the rules: to promote European foreign policy, not to vindicate international law. Indeed, the essence of the rule of law is about applying general rules to similar cases, regardless of one’s sympathies. The application of unique rules to Jewish State is the opposite of lawful.
If the EU actually has any interest in supporting International Law, let it encourage the Abbas regime to live up to the agreements it has signed and agree to negotiate. For starters, the EU could tell Abbas that the time has come to stop making Palestinian terrorists out to be heroes and inciting hatred against Israel.

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