Tomas Sandell
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Breaking the EU rules

This European citizen has no intention of honoring the ban against funding over the green line

In May 2007, our organisation, European Coalition for Israel, broke the law. In clear breach of an EU policy recommendation not to organise any official European events in Jerusalem we hosted our official Europe Day reception at the King David Hotel in the heart of Jerusalem. Among the many dignitaries present were several EU ambassadors, as well as members of European Parliament and several national parliaments. If we were a bunch of outlaws, we were certainly in good company. And we had a great time.

Next year we plan to do it all over again, and this time we hope to also have some nice side events in East Jerusalem. I will personally make sure that the wine we serve is from the Golan Heights.

After the vicious move on Tuesday by the EU to try to predetermine the borders of a future two state solution by boycotting Israel outside of the 1967 lines, the decision does not leave us with any other choice than to break this the most hideous of all the hideous EU-directives.

Jews living in East Jerusalem and the territories have every right under international law to reside there. Dividing Jerusalem and expelling Jews living in the Old City would be in clear breach of Article 15 of the Mandate for Palestine, which states that ”No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the sole grounds of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the grounds of his religious belief.”

Furthermore, the EU has signed the Oslo Accords, which states in Article 31 that ”neither side shall take any steps to change the status of Gaza and the West Bank pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”

Let me be cystal clear. As European citizens, we are not trying to interfere in Israeli domestic policy. How the Israelis and the Palestinians decide, through bilateral negotiations, to settle their disputes and live together in peace is not for us to decide But neither should it be the business of the EU to do so. As outside interlocuters, we should help foster an environment where trust can grow and co-existence is possible between Israelis and Palestinians. Now the EU is doing the exact opposite.

Since when do Jews living outside of the 1967 armistice lines pose a threat to peace? Are not Jews and Palestinians supposed to live together and not be separated any longer? What will be the next measure from the Nobel Peace Prize winner, the EU? Perhaps banning Jews living in the territories from entering the European Union? As a European citizen who is currently enjoying my summer holiday, I cannot help but feel an ice-cold chill going through my body.

As an organisation, we will clearly protest against EU interference in trying to predetermine the final borders of a Two State Solution, hence making any substantial negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians superficial and unnecessary. If the Palestinians can get anything they ask for via their EU-satellites, then there is no reason to return to the negotiating table – ever.

Whereas the whole Middle East is in turmoil, the EU now seems to be putting all its energies and efforts into destabilizing the only democratic state which shares our values and providing hope in the region, namely Israel.

It used to be fashionable in Brussels circles to state that ”the Palestinian conflict must be resolved in order to create peace and stability in the Middle East.” Today it is rather difficult, even for the Eurocrats in Brussels, to explain how the bloodbath in Syria or the turmoil in Egypt has anything to do with unsettled business between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Perhaps there will be two sets of European recommendations in the future – those formulated by the anonymous and non elected EU-bureaucrats in Brussels and those decided by the citizens themselves in a free and democratic Europe. One thing is for sure; this time we will not remain silent when our leaders step up their diplomatic war on the Jewish state.

Jewish settlements are not the obstacles to peace. Today the real obstacle to peace is spelt EU.

About the Author
Tomas Sandell is a Finnish journalist who has been accredited by the European Union. He is today the Founding Director of European Coalition for Israel.