4th Feb 2023

Israel man seeks EU money to fortify home

  • Man throws spent Qassam rocket casing near Sderot in Israel (Photo: davidkormanphoto)

A man with dual French and Israeli nationality is mounting a legal challenge to make the EU pay to fortify his home in Israel against rocket attack.

Eyal Katorza from the town of Sderot near Gaza has lost his job and in the past two years seen his mother's shop close down because of mortars and Qassam rockets, which hit the area on average three or four times a day despite official ceasefires.

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The latest rocket landed near the Kibbutz Alumim on Sunday morning (9 August).

In an eight page draft legal petition obtained by EUobserver, Mr Katorza's lawyers say the EU is obliged to protect its citizens abroad under articles 3.5 and 20 of the EU treaty.

The petition calls for EU "reparations for lost job income, reparations for physical and psychological damages, reparations for property damages [and] monies for reinforced buildings against missiles or any other military projectiles."

It also accuses the EU of allowing aid to the occupied Palestinian territories to get "into the hands of persons and organisations who actually finance and perpetrate terrorism."

The petition urges member states to "stop the transfer of European money to Hamas and/or to any other organisations that are defined by the Israeli government as terrorist organisations."

Mr Katorza is represented by the Tzivin & Co law firm in Tel Aviv and by Hugo Coveliers & Roel Coveliers in Antwerp, Belgium.

The legal team, which has experience of international lawsuits, aims to file the petition with the European Commission in Brussels on Monday and to open a case at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in 12 months' time if the commission does not act.

The lawyers have invited other EU citizens living in Israel - estimated at 300,000 people - to join the petition.

The EU in 2008 channeled €408 million in aid to the occupied territories under a programme which has attracted long-standing criticism from Jewish rights groups in Europe.

The bulk of the money is paid out via "Pegase" - a financial mechanism designed to make sure EU funds go directly to Palestinian medical workers or to keep power plants going, instead of being used for political or military purposes.

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