Jul. 18, 2013 (TSR) – Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reacted angrily to a new European Union decree issued on Tuesday. The ban from Israel’s largest trading partner conditions all future co-operation agreements with Israel on a directive that they not include Israeli new illegal settlements, which was built beyond 1967 borders.
The EU’s decree warns from financing Israeli entity and providing grants and donations for scientific research, and also requires that signing any future agreements with Israel must include a term recognizing that east Jerusalem and the West Bank are not part of the State of Israel and therefore not part of the contract. All EU projects to be conducted within pre-1967 lines.
It is a very significant move that calls for all EU projects to be conducted within pre-1967 lines and not in East Jerusalem, the West Bank or Golan Heights.
A senior Israeli official, identity not revealed, described this move to be “dramatic” and an “earthquake”, saying that this is the first time the EU’s institutions issue such firm and formal binding policy
Israeli regime’s deputy foreign minister Zeev Elkin said on Tuesday that the EU decision was “very significant and worrying.”
Israel’s controversial settlement activities and its refusal to halt them in the face of international demand have been seen as a major obstacle to any peace process between the regime and Palestinian authorities.
Elkin tried to blame the new EU directive for possible failures in negotiations between the two sides saying that the decision would undermine attempts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to begin peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The new ban measure demands Israeli authorities to guarantee that all EU funding or co-operation with Jewish communities, whether individual or institution, are not in the West Bank and east al-Quds (east Jerusalem), which were illegally captured by the Zionist regime during the 1967 Six- Day War, and the Golan Heights, seized from Syria in the same conflict.
The directive is expected to take effect as of 2014.
The EU has always maintained a policy that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, but until now has worked with Israel based on quiet understandings that the EU agreements cover only pre-1967 occupied lands.
The EU is Israel’s biggest trading partner, with total trade amounting to €29.4 billion in 2011.
More than a third of Israeli imports come from EU states and the bloc purchases more than a quarter of Israeli exports.
Charge d’affaires of the EU delegation to Israel, Sandra De Waele, said the decree did not represent a new policy but meant that for the first time any agreement signed between the EU and Israel would have to contain a clause excluding settlements.
She acknowledged that the move reflected ongoing European displeasure over Israeli illegal settlement activity.
Netanyahu is more committed to violating international laws than to peace
“We welcome this significant move” as it “constitutes a significant development in the way the EU countries deal with Israeli occupation.,” PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi responded positively in a local report.
“The EU has moved from the level of statements, declarations and denunciations to effective policy decisions and concrete steps which constitute a qualitative shift that will have a positive impact on the chances of peace. The Israeli occupation must be held to account, and Israel must comply with international and humanitarian law and the requirements for justice and peace,” stressed Dr. Ashrawi.
Dr. Ashrawi also met on Tuesday with Right Honorable Ed Balls, the current British Labour and Co-operative MP for Morley and Outwood and the current Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, as well as British Consul General Sir Vincent Fean, and representatives from the British Consulate General in Jerusalem. They discussed the latest political developments in Palestine, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace initiative, regional developments, as well as issues of mutual concern.
“It is evident that the Israeli coalition government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are more committed to Israeli settlements than to peace. The agreed terms of reference – United Nations resolutions 242 and 338 and the land for peace equation, as well as signed agreements and international law – must be respected and upheld. This requires Israel to withdraw to the 1967 boundaries, cease all settlement activities and recognize East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine, in addition to releasing Palestinian prisoners, reopening Jerusalem institutions and refraining from all other violations including the siege, checkpoints and the whole system of control imposed by the military occupation of Palestine, ” Dr. Ashrawi said in the meeting.
“It is thus Israel that holds the key to peace; it can either pursue the path of impunity, entitlement, and oppression, or it can relinquish the territories it occupies in 1967 and join the global community as an equal and not as a rogue state,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.
However, Netanyahu, after holding emergency consultations with senior ministers, declared that Israel would not accept European dictates concerning its borders.
He also vowed that the government would stand by the hundreds of thousands of settlers.
Reports say that the new directive was drawn up as a result of the decision by European foreign ministers last December, which stated that all agreements between the EU and Israel “must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.”
The Tel Aviv occupying regime has increased its illegal settlement expansion following an upgrade of Palestine’s status at the UN to a non-member observer state on November 29, 2012.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds. Much of the international community considers the settlements illegal.
Last month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized Israel’s plan to build more than 1,000 new illegal units in the occupied West Bank.
Instead, the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria set to approve the advancement of plans for 1,072 new homes in West Bank settlements on Wednesday, watchdog Peace Now reported on Tuesday.
The approval comes while US Secretary of State John Kerry is lobbying and holding talks on the frozen Israeli-Palestinian peace process with the Arab League.
According to the council’s agenda, they were to debate a plan for 732 new homes in the Modi’in Illit settlement, located on the pre-1967 lines.
The council also planned to discuss building plans for 10 other settlements, but according to the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the schedule is subject to change, Jerusalem Post reported.
Peace Now said, an initial approval was expected to be granted for plans to build 234 units in Galgal and 31 homes in Almog settlements in the Jordan Valley, 38 homes at Kochav Yaacov and 17 for Shiloh, settlements in the Binyamin Region, which is near the West Bank city of Ramallah and Kfar Adumim northeast of Jerusalem.
In addition it will consider plans for 19 homes in Kfar Adumim, located outside of the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement, on the way down to the Dead Sea from Jerusalem.
Another 732 units were to be given a more advanced level of approval at the West Bank’s biggest settlement, Modiin Ilit, west of Ramallah, it added.
Residents of Deir Qaddis village in the Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate submitted an objection against the construction plan, assuring that the units are to be built on a Palestinian-owned land, yet the Planning Council rejected the appeals.
A de facto freeze on the publication of housing tenders in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem has been in place since January, as an Israeli gesture to help foster a conducive climate for the renewal of talks with the Palestinians, which have been largely frozen since December 2008, Jerusalem Post reported.
The Palestinian Authority has called on the international community to take more steps to “stop Israeli violations and remove obstacles obstructing efforts to revive the peace process.”
The PA went on to reiterate its demands for a full cessation of settlement construction and the release of Palestinian prisoners as a precondition for resuming peace talks with Israel.
Israel has refused to cede to that request and has insisted that talks must be held without pre-conditions and snubbed John Kerry’s efforts.
Moreover, the Israeli Higher Planning Council has continued to debate and advance plans for thousands of new homes in West Bank settlements in the last six months.To add more blow to the American marathon peace efforts, Palestinian politicians also rebuffed on Thursday the peace blueprint hashed out by US Secretary of State John Kerry with president Mahmoud Abbas.
A senior Fatah official said in anonymity that the party wanted alterations to what Abbas had agreed because the proposed ideas are not encouraging for a return to negotiations.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had urged Israel to carefully consider a 2002 peace initiative approved by the Arab League which promises Israel peace with 22 Arab nations and 35 Muslim nations – a total of 57 nations that are standing and waiting for the possibility of making peace with Israel.
The plan, put forward by Saudi Arabia at an Arab League summit in Beirut in 2002, offered full recognition of Israel but only if it gave up all land seized in the 1967 Middle East war and agreed to a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees. Softening the plan three months ago, a top Qatari official raised the possibility of land swaps in setting future Israeli-Palestinian borders.
Israel among most corrupt entities in world
The report shows Israeli politicians are considered the most corrupt among all sectors, Transparency International reported.
Of all members of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) surveyed, the corruption levels of Greece and Israel came in first and second place respectively, with their political and cultural institutions ranking at the top of the corruption meter.
Over 80 percent of Israelis believe that one must have contacts very high up in the public sector in order to get anything done. Transparency International says it sees “deep-rooted failures of governance” in Israel.
It is important to note that the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is costing American taxpayers more than USD $3 Trillion and that the conservative estimate of total US aid to Israel is more than USD $123 billion as of 2011 and rising.