EU Issues Anti-Settlement Measures

Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast.

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1. European Union issues guidelines that for the first time ban the financing of and cooperation with Israeli institutions in eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank and Golan Heights.

The document states that the EU “does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over any of the territories… and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law.” The guidelines also state that “only Israeli entities having their place of establishment within Israel’s pre-1967 borders will be considered eligible.”

PM Netanyahu’s reaction: “We will not accept any foreign dictates about our borders. This matter will only be determined through direct negotiation between the [two] sides” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jennifer Rubin criticizes the EU in the Washington Post:

This is an old story for the European Union — it strives for relevance but its anti-Israeli tendencies make it particularly unsuited to play any constructive role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. EU-affiliated organizations back phony NGOs that operate in Israel for the purpose of delegitimizing the Jewish state. Government officials freely banter about anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic tropes.

Melanie Phillips writes:

This is an act of malevolence. But the fault in large measure surely lies with Israel. For although some may find this incomprehensible, Israel does not make to the world the one case that matters – why Israelis are fully entitled under international law to build their homes in these territories; and exactly how Britain, the EU and the UN have grossly mis-stated and misapplied that international law.

Instead, Israel merely protests that the EU move will inhibit a peace settlement. Which it undoubtedly will. But it will do so principally by upending law, truth and justice – a case Israel never makes in public, thus allowing the irrational hatred of Israel in the west, fed by racist lies and propaganda, to spread its poison unchecked.

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2. Israel allows two more Egyptian battalions into Sinai in crackdown on terror cells there.

3. Israel is in bad company in a report that more than 3,000 current UK export licences for arms and military equipment worth more than £12bn have been approved for 27 countries classified by the Foreign Office as “of concern” because of their poor human rights record. Trust The Guardian to lump Israel in with Saudi Arabia, China and Zimbabwe:

He [chairman of the parliamentary committee] added: “The government should apply significantly more cautious judgments when considering arms export licence applications for goods to authoritarian regimes‚ which might be used to facilitate internal repression‚ in contravention of the government’s stated policy.”

The approval of nearly 400 arms export licences for “Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories”, for equipment valued at nearly £8bn, includes components for body armour, parts for “all-wheel drive vehicles with ballistic protection”, assault rifles, pistols, military support vehicles, and small arms ammunition.

Sky News points out that Britain has sold industrial materials to Syria that could have been used to make chemical weapons. Nonetheless, plenty of space is given to Labour MP Richard Burden, who chairs the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group, who said the amount going to Israel was “astonishing”.

“What is most striking is that over half of the total is going to ‘Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories’,” he said.

“Look a little closer and you see that almost all of those exports are going to Israel, with only £5,539 going to the Occupied Territories.

“Look closer still and you see something utterly astonishing – 380 different licences have been granted for exports of arms and military equipment to Israel.

4. Children Taught to Hate on Palestinian Television: Where’s the Coverage. Watch HR’s latest video focusing on incitement of Palestinian children.

The Blankfeld Award for Media Critique

Israel and the Palestinians

• Are the Palestinians boring? Bret Stephens seems to thinks so in the Wall Street Journal (access through Google News):

And yet for all its presumed importance, the Palestinian saga has gotten awfully boring, hasn’t it? The grievances that remain unchanged, a cast of characters that never alters, the same schematics, the clichés that were shopworn decades ago. If it were a TV drama, it would be “The X-Files”—in its 46th season. The truth is out there. Still. We get it. We just don’t give a damn anymore.

• J-Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami is given op-ed space in the New York Times to argue that the the negative atmosphere around the John Kerry’s diplomatic efforts impacts his chances of success.

• Abbas to present peace talks offer to PLO: official.

• Kerry to meet Arab League officials on Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Arab Spring Winter

• Egypt’s interim president swears in new cabinet.

• Two Syrian suspects briefly infiltrate an unmanned Israeli military post on the border between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights

• More than 100 Irish troops are to be be sent to war-torn Syria as part of a United Nations observer force later this summer.

Chuck Freilich argues in favor of continuing U.S. aid to Egypt in the LA Times:

The prospect of a radical, failed state in Egypt, which could act to abrogate the peace with Israel and even rejoin the war camp, is a nightmare.

For the sake of U.S. interests in the Mideast and its ability to affect regional developments, from the changes set in motion by the Arab Spring to the prospects for containing Iran’s nuclear program and the prospects for an Arab-Israeli peace, the U.S. must do everything it can to help Egypt through this trying time.

• Former UK PM Tony Blair also argues against letting Egypt collapse in The Australian:

So what should the West do? Egypt is the latest reminder that the region is in turmoil and won’t leave us alone, however much we may wish it would. Disengagement is not an option, because the status quo is not an option. Any decision not to act is itself a decision of vast consequence.

At its crudest, the West cannot afford Egypt’s collapse. So it should engage with the new de facto power and help the new government make the changes necessary, especially with respect to the economy, so that it can deliver adequate performance for Egypt’s citizens. In that way, it can also help shape a path back to the ballot box that is designed by and for Egyptians.

• Michael Gerson opines in the Washington Post that there are no silver linings for Israel in the current Mideast turmoil:

But the general Israeli attitude is worry and wariness — the understandable attitude of a people with a long history of heroism but not much experience with happy endings. “Everything looks worse,” says Meridor. “There is a feeling that we can be prepared, but there is nothing proactive we can do about it.” So Israeli foreign policy is reactive. It focuses on disrupting short-term threats (such as arms transfers to Hezbollah) rather than developing long-term strategies. And Israeli politics has turned inward toward domestic concerns.

Many Israeli political figures share a concern: That the United States has also become reactive. That it is focused on disrupting short-term threats rather than developing long-term strategies. And that U.S. politics has turned inward toward domestic issues. “There is a sense you can count less on America,” according to Meridor, “that it is weaker, or has chosen not to act, or that events are out of control, or a combination.”

On the next page

• The Wall Street Journal compares the “red lines” of President Obama and PM Netanyahu.

• Iran should take heed: In 1967, a pre-emptive strike on Egypt seemed impossible too.

• Ultra-Orthodox IDF soldiers come under fire from extremists within their own community.

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