As discussions over their application continue, the European Jewish Congress (EJC) has expressed its deep concern over new European Union guidelines, which attempt to preempt the results of recently re-launched negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor has written to and met with senior European politicians, including foreign ministers of member states, making the case that the guidelines are harmful to the negotiations.
In a full-page advert in today’s Financial Times, Dr. Kantor wrote that the guidelines which block EU funding from Israeli institutions either located or maintaining any links beyond the Green Line were discriminatory, and would ultimately hurt Europeans, Israelis, Palestinians, but most of all, the prospects for peace.
“From the well over one hundred territorial disputes in the world, the European Union has mandated the creation of a clause in every agreement denying European funding to, and cooperation with, institutions from only one nation involved in a territorial dispute: Israel,” Kantor said. “It has not placed similar criteria on Turkey, Morocco, China, or any other nation involved in a territorial dispute.”
“What makes the situation far worse is that the European Union is abrogating agreements that it signed and witnessed,” Kantor continued "The Oslo Accords, the basis for the peace negotiations, specifically stipulated that the current status of the territories, and its residents, will not be changed or harmed ahead of final status negotiations, to which the parties have recently returned." The territories, captured during a defensive war, from Jordan, itself an occupier, were never an independent sovereign entity.
“The significance and the timing of these new guidelines, on the eve of the return to negotiations, harms the trust between the parties and a potentially successful outcome,” he added.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in daily contact with the parties in order to oversee the talks to a positive conclusion has himself expressed severe reservations about the guidelines to EU leaders and attended the recent summit of EU foreign ministers in Vilnius to make these comments personally, the EJC noted.
Kantor said that the desire for the EU to score political points seemed to outweigh the direct economic considerations of European citizens as well as undermining the financial building blocks so necessary for sustainable peace.
The EJC also pointed out the potentially catastrophic economic effects of the guidelines on the daily lives of Palestinian families where 22,500 breadwinners are employed in Israeli institutions and businesses over the Green Line. These Palestinians receive almost double the pay working in these enterprises and institutions that they receive working in the Palestinian Authority.
Furthermore, Europeans stand to lose if the guidelines remain in place. “Israel has been recognised by the European Union as being at the forefront of global innovation and research and development. Israel’s medical technology has saved countless European lives, assisted our technological growth, increased our crop production and ensured alternative energy sources,” Kantor said.
“It is time to place the good of Europe and Europeans, Israelis and Palestinians, and the potential for peace in the Middle East above politics,” Kantor said. “As citizens of Europe, we call on European leaders to stand by their written commitments, demonstrate responsibility and work in the interests of European, regional and global interests.”Monday, September 16, 2013