Quick question: Which Israeli settlements do the EU consider are legal under international law?
Answer (after you’ve scraped your jaw off the floor at the very idea): settlements that the EU have built – on Israeli territory – for Palestinians.
I have written before about the EU’s undermining of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, (including an article by the same Jake Wallis Simons) but the following story seems to be a step too far even for British MPs.
A thorough (and thoroughly infuriating) expose by Jake Wallis Simons in the Daily Mail, based on reports from the NGO Regavim, who promote the legal and responsible use of Israeli land, describes how the EU has the outrageous chutzpah to claim “diplomatic immunity” as they use British taxpayers’ money to build on disputed Israeli-controlled land for the benefit of Palestinians:
The EU is claiming diplomatic immunity after using taxpayers’ money to build unauthorised settlements and roads on Israeli parts of the West Bank, MailOnline can reveal.
An Israeli NGO launched legal action after photographing EU flags flying above buildings on land placed under Israeli jurisdiction by the Oslo Accords, to which the EU is a signatory. EU bureaucrats are avoiding court by citing diplomatic rules.
The buildings, which are given to Palestinians, are intended to ‘pave the way’ for more land to be brought under Palestinian control, according to official EU papers. Many are bulldozed by Israel only for the EU to repeatedly rebuild them, generating more costs for the taxpayer.
Leaked documents obtained by MailOnline show that the EU – which receives £350million per week from Britain – is using diplomatic rules to place officials above the law, foiling attempts to hold bureaucrats accountable.
It is gratifying to note that British MPs are as outraged as we are at the gall and arrogance of the EU:
MPs have expressed outrage that the EU is using aid money to ‘meddle’ in a foreign territorial dispute, and branded its actions ‘dodgy’.
‘It is deeply concerning that the EU falls back on diplomatic immunity after breaking planning regulations,’ Jacob Rees-Mogg MP told MailOnline. ‘The UK Government would take a very dim view of a friendly state doing that to us.
‘Diplomatic immunity is there to protect envoys from unjust treatment, not to protect the high-handed behaviour of arrogant bureaucracies.’
He added: ‘The EU maintains that it is based on fundamental principles of rule of law and support for democracy. But when this clashes with its bureaucratic bungling, neither rule of law nor democracy seem important.’
The projects come at a cost of tens of millions of Euros in aid money, a proportion of which comes from the British taxpayer. Construction is also funded by international charities, including Oxfam.
EU flags are mounted on the buildings, leading them to become known locally as the ‘EU settlements’.
‘The EU should comply with the law. It should not be meddling in the Middle East, then hiding behind some dodgy use of diplomatic immunity,’ Andrew Percy MP told MailOnline.
‘This is a gross waste of taxpayers’ money. It’s another example of money given to the EU over which Parliament has no real oversight.
‘The British electorate is contributing to this but we are completely unaware of how it’s being spent. We don’t know who is spending this, and we can’t vote them out.’
He added: ‘No wonder the EU think they’re above the law. They are untouchable.’
Mr Percy also expressed serious concerns that the EU is ‘undermining the Oslo Accords’ and ‘damaging attempts at peace’ in the Middle East. ‘Not only is it a waste of taxpayers’ money, it is morally questionable,’ he said.
This month, the EU approved a further £193million of aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Professor Eugene Kontorovich, an international lawyer from the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, said: ‘There’s no question, the EU is openly in violation of international law.’
All these “petty” claims of legalities are dismissed by the EU who obviously know better (sarcasm…):
But an EU spokeswoman argued that the construction was legal ‘in accordance with the humanitarian imperative’, and said the EU believed that Area C would be ‘part of any viable future Palestinian state’.
‘All EU activity in the West Bank is fully in line with international humanitarian law,’ the spokeswoman said. ‘Under international law Israel also has the obligation to protect and facilitate development for the local population, and to grant unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance.’
Riiight. So when Israel builds for its own population, that is called illegal by the Europeans, even when they are building in Area C, designated Israeli-controlled. But when they or the Palestinians build there, that is not only permissible, but Israel is obligated to assist them! Talk about imperialism and colonialism!!
As for the hallowed Oslo Accords – which are honoured more in the breach than anything else:
She would not say whether or not the EU’s actions breached the Oslo Accords.
The Oslo Accords are a series of agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, made in the Nineties, which divided the West Bank into Areas A, B and C.
Area C was placed under Israeli control, while Areas A and B were Palestinian. The agreements were ratified by the international community, including the EU, and intended as a step towards the two-state solution.
More than 1,000 EU-funded Palestinian homes, as well as roads and other infrastructure, have been erected in the Israeli Area C of the West Bank, without permits from Israel.
But the EU says that international humanitarian legislation, coupled with their belief that Area C will end up in Palestinian hands, allows them to proceed with construction.
Since when do the EU get to be the ones to decide what areas will end up under whose control?
Read the rest of the article but I give you fair warning: watch your blood pressure.
Brian of London at Israellycool made an excellent comparison in his post on this subject, “the illegal conquest and colonisation of Israel by the EU“:
Right in front of the US Embassy in London is a beautiful green garden called Grosvenor Square. It’s a delightful open space. Here’s the rather imperial looking US Embassy:
And here is the nice garden which, to the best of my knowledge, is actually still English land:
Now imagine, if you will, that EU diplomats decide they’d like to house Syrian refugees there and they show up with bulldozers, diggers and concrete mixers and start building a refugee housing centre.
What do you think the UK Government would do? Yeah. Me too. And when the UK objects to this the EU diplomats would just say “you can’t touch us, we have diplomatic immunity!”.
That’s pretty much exactly what the EU is doing all over Israel. People are starting to notice. And remember, if you live in the EU (still) your hard earned money is being used to do this to Israel.
Brian sums up the whole matter very clearly by stating, as I did above, the utter hypocrisy of the EU and the rest of the world who are outraged when Israelis build on their own land, often after exhausting legal battles in the Israeli judicial system, but silently approve of EU building for the benefit of the Palestinians. He then concludes:
And notice: without the EU to make this happen, the Palestinian Arabs wouldn’t be doing any of this. They just don’t have the gumption on their own because, as a society, they don’t feel the burning passion for this land and for self determination that Jews do.
Please protest to your MP, MEP, Congressman, Representative and any other officials you can find in order to keep this outrage in the public sphere, and to keep up the pressure on the EU.
Brian also provides us with Regavim’s video on their invaluable and courageous work. Watch it and share it widely.