An internal report published by the European Union, titled Jerusalem 2012, has suggested that its member states “prevent, discourage and raise awareness about problematic implications of financial transactions, including foreign direct investments from within the EU in support of settlement activities, infrastructure and services.” In fact, seven of the ten recommendations made include imposing direct or indirect sanctions on organizations involved in building Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as well as in East Jerusalem.
The European Consul General in East Jerusalem and Ramallah, the source of the report, had recommended avoiding using Israeli security when high level European officials visit the Old City/East Jerusalem; preventing/discouraging financial transactions from EU actors supporting “settlement activity in East Jerusalem;” proposing EU legislation to “prevent/discourage financial transactions to support settlement activities;” compiling voluntary guidelines for EU tour operators to prevent business going towards Jewish businesses in East Jerusalem; ensuring that products manufactured in East Jerusalem do not benefit from preferential treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement; labeling Israeli products that are produced beyond the green line as such; and advising EU citizens against purchasing property in East Jerusalem.
The report in general utilized very harsh language in relations to Israel. Jewish construction in Jerusalem is labeled to be “the single biggest threat to the two-state solution.” The Palestinian leaderships’ incitement to violence in the Palestinian media, educational system, and in the mosques, accompanied by Mahmoud Abbas’ intransigence in refusing to engage in peace talks is not criticized. There are also no condemnations for the Palestinian leadership preferring to violate the Oslo Agreements by unilaterally declaring a state and promoting such unilateralism via instigating riots. To the contrary, the report called on EU officials to reward the PLO by promoting their representation in East Jerusalem and to regularly host PLO officials whenever senior level EU officials visit the Holy Land.
However, Har Homa, Gilo, and Givat HaMatos were referred to as settlements rather than Jerusalem neighborhoods and Jews building in them was labeled “the most significant and problematic plans,” while Jews building up in E-1, which is an empty grassy area located near the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is condemned as the “final step to geographically cutting off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.” The report claims that E-1 endangers the two-state solution, yet neglects to mention that a majority of the Arab population in Jerusalem prefer to live under Israeli control over Palestinian Authority control, implying that any two-state solution should not include the division of Jerusalem.
In fact, even Jerusalem City Councilman Meir Margalit, who is of the left-wing Meretz Party, asserted, “More and more Palestinians have despaired of the Palestinian Authority. [….] They see what is happening between Hamas and Fatah, and within Fatah, and they say ‘No thanks. We have enough problems of our own, so why should we step into that mess? We would rather be under Israeli rule.’” As one Palestinian explained, “I prefer the hell of the Jews to the paradise of Hamas” or Fatah. 35 percent of East Jerusalemites evidently also prefer that East Jerusalem remain part of Israel, while only 30 percent disagreed (35 percent abstained), according to a poll conducted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Yet, the European Union report has ignored what the majority of East Jerusalem Palestinians want, by trying to force them to live under the Palestinian Authority.
Yet as if that were not bad enough, Jewish archaeological excavations in East Jerusalem, such as the famous City of David archaeological park that has uncovered many unique archaeological finds from the First and Second Temple periods, were criticized because they are, according to the European Union, a “concerted effort to utilize archaeology to enhance a claimed historic Jewish continuity in Jerusalem, therefore creating the sense of a historic justification for the establishment of Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel.” Yet, the report also sought to encourage Palestinians to unearth Islamic antiquities to show their heritage in the same areas, thus demonstrating a double standard.
Furthermore, this EU report had the audacity to blame Israeli policies, instead of Palestinian Muslim violence, for the fact that many Palestinian Christians are emigrating from the Holy Land. By stating this, the EU ignored many studies produced by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and other organizations demonstrating the exact opposite. Fortunately, this annual mission report that is written by all of the heads of EU diplomatic missions within the Palestinian Authority does not compel practical steps, yet it does serve as a basis for internal EU discussions on Israel and in this does work to further Palestinian goals of isolating Israel.
Please send an e-mail to the High Representative of the Union of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union to complain!
Dear Baroness Catherine Ashton,
As a concerned citizen, I am deeply disturbed that the European Union Consul General in East Jerusalem and Ramallah wrote an internal report titled “Jerusalem 2012” which called on its member states to “prevent, discourage and raise awareness about problematic implications of financial transactions, including foreign direct investments from within the EU in support of settlement activities, infrastructure and services.”
I am especially upset about such an assertion given that Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has asserted on numerous occasions that he is willing to negotiate the establishment of a Palestinian state without any sort of preconditions, while the Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas refuses to negotiate at all with Israel, preferring to unilaterally declare a state in violation of the Oslo Agreements, which clearly stated that a Palestinian state should be established as part of a peace agreement with Israel. Thus, by publishing such a report, Israelis are being punished for being willing to negotiate, while the Palestinians are being awarded for their lack of desire to live in peace with their neighbors.
To the contrary of this reports’ assertions, the main impediment to the creation of a Palestinian state is not the settlements, but rather Palestinian intransigence as demonstrated by their refusal to negotiate with Israel accompanied by incitement to violence against the Jewish people. If the Palestinians had sought to build a state, rather than destroy an existing state, they would have had a state decades ago; thus, the main obstacle to the two-state solution is not Jewish citizens choosing to build up their lives in certain locations but rather the lack of an existing Palestinian leadership which is willing to compromise so that his people can achieve statehood and coexist in peace with their Jewish neighbors.
If the European Union is serious about trying to support peace in the Middle East, they will try to tackle the root of the conflict, which is the existence of a Palestinian leadership that is unwilling to accept a Jewish state existing under any borders, and not try to give into Palestinian demands to prejudice final status negotiations by delegitimizing Jewish communities through boycotts and determining that certain areas should be Palestinian before a peace agreement has even negotiated the final borders of a Palestinian state. This should especially be the case, given that a poll from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy found that most East Jerusalem Arabs prefer to live under Israeli rule rather than Palestinian rule. Thus, I urge you to not implement the recommendations of “Jerusalem 2012.”
All the best,