Monday

5th Dec 2016

Opinion

Time for EU to put real pressure on Israel

  • Israeli soldiers on patrol in occupied Hebron, West Bank (Photo: Rosie Gabrielle)

Times are very rough for both Israeli and Palestinian families. The death toll in Gaza currently stands at some 240 people, of whom dozens are children. Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank. A Palestinian youth from Jerusalem was burned alive by Jewish extremists.

Dangerous and violent racism against Arab Israeli citizens encouraged by Israeli ministers and parliament members leads to riots in the streets, breeds aggression and severe discrimination against Palestinians, along with a new aggression against peace activists.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Israel is currently suffering from an unprecedented social and economic crisis. The single source for this crisis is Israel’s destructive occupation. The occupation has raised two generations of Palestinians as prisoners jailed between military checkpoints and walls.

The two generations of Israelis who believe that they are the lords of the land, are nurtured by the illusion that the oppression of 4.5 million Palestinians gives them security and peace, and that such an oppressive society is capable of raising compassionate children. Therefore they are shocked when their boys become ruthless killers, as is revealed by current events.

One of the most dominant and disastrous expressions of the occupation is the settlement project in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which is illegal under international law.

The settlements allow Israel to take control of Palestinians’ natural resources in violation of international law, to strengthen its presence in the territories, and to make the occupation irreversible.

Despite agreements, international resolutions and Israeli promises, the settlements are expanding. All the while, Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and so-called ‘Area C’ (61% of the West Bank, under full Israeli control) are constantly destroyed.

While water flows in the settlements without limitation, Palestinian villages live under a cruel water regime, as was recently pointed out by the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, during a speech he made before the Israeli parliament. Many roads are closed to Palestinians and the restriction of movement is unbearable.

To this day, the international community has not done enough to stop Israeli settlements. European countries have profoundly criticised them while continuing to co-operate fully with Israel, economically, politically and militarily. As a result, Israel does not pay any price for seriously violating international law. On the contrary, Europe also pays for much of the humanitarian damage of the occupation, making it even easier for Israel to maintain.

A year ago, the EU made a small step in the right direction: guidelines were issued prohibiting EU institutions to fund or to finance research organizations and activities in the settlements. Twenty European countries have published formal warnings to their citizens and companies regarding trade and financial relations with the settlements.

And yet, these measures do not seriously challenge Israeli policy in occupied Palestine. Europe could do much better as illustrated by its harsh response to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

It took the EU a few weeks – not years – to make its stance against Russian actions crystal clear. Just this week the EU has taken a further bold step in suspending the funding of new public-sector projects in Russia by the EU's lending institution, the European Investment Bank. This is in addition to the previous decision to ban the import of Crimean goods, and to impose targeted sanctions on both Russian and Ukrainian officials and on business firms operating in Crimea.

Israel controls millions of Palestinians under an ongoing military occupation, claiming that this situation is "temporary". However, a military occupation of 47 years, which includes the establishment of settlements, cannot be described as “temporary”.

As an Israeli longing for peace and justice, I believe Europe has to contain the settlement policy with greater determination and more concrete measures.

The world increasingly understands the threat that the settlements pose to peace and stability in the region. Over time, neither Palestinians nor Israelis can survive without freedom and independence for the Palestinians. Already, the undemocratic character of the state of Israel is increasingly transforming it into an apartheid state.

For the two nations living in this region, there is a joint and real interest in ending the Israeli occupation as a precondition for peace. We, the citizens of Israel and the stateless people of Palestine, cannot bring this about on our own. We need the help of the international community at large and of the EU in particular.

As a laureate of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Human Rights, and as a mother and a human being, I call on the EU to use all the diplomatic and economic tools at its disposal to help save my country from the abyss of eternal occupation and injustice.

The writer is a teacher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the 2001 Sakharov Prize Laureate, and the co-founder of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Column / Crude World

Shinzo Abe's hot-tub diplomacy

Why European leaders should learn from Japanese prime minister's failing diplomacy with Russia and not make the same mistakes.

Opinion

The young didn’t choose Trump or Brexit

Young people have been sold down the river by this year's political events, but it's not too late for Europe to safeguard the future for the world's youth.

News in Brief

  1. EU dismisses euro crisis risk after Italian referendum
  2. Italy result poses no risk to the EU, Sapin says
  3. EU asked to clarify links to Iran executions
  4. Italian economy minister tipped as caretaker PM
  5. EU tells US tech giants to act faster against hate speech
  6. Iceland's Pirates in bid to form government
  7. Danes are the happiest workers, study says
  8. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESICESI Congress Focuses on Future of Work, Public Services and Digitalisation
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  3. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  4. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  5. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  6. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  7. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  8. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  10. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  12. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCAThe Future of Audit Means Adaption to Today’s Global and Digital World
  2. Swedish EnterprisesNew Rules for EU Anti-dumping Measures
  3. European Jewish CongressTakes Part in Building Resilient Communities
  4. UNICEFUniversal Children’s Day: UNICEF Calls for Global Action on Child Rights Violations
  5. Counter BalanceThe EU Bank Cannot be a Key Player in Europe's Response to the Plight of Refugees
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEvidence of Human Rights Violations and International Crimes in Crimea
  7. Dialogue PlatformThe Failed Military Coup in Turkey & The Mass Purges
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Climate Solutions at COP22 in Marrakech
  9. Counter BalanceNGOs Call on Development Finance Institutions to Act Against Tax Avoidance
  10. European Free AllianceTrump Victory and Brexit Show Urgent Need of Improving Democracy
  11. Martens CentreOur Transatlantic 9-11: Europe After Trump
  12. Dialogue PlatformTimmermans Points to Gülen Movement as Coup Plotter But Lacks Proof