The Kohelet Policy Forum, a Jerusalem think tank, has released a legal and policy analysis, by Prof. Avi Bell and myself, of the European Commission’s recent “settlement guidelines” – a ban on funding Israeli entities located across, or, more importantly, conducting any “activities” in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and Gaza. I’ve previously explained how the Guidelines’ are not about either international law or the Palestinians, and how they contradict and undermine the EU’s own practices elsewhere.
Israel and the EU are currently in the throes of negotiations about the document. The paper presents important new information for discussions of business and academic activities in occupied territories.
•The Israel Grants Guidelines adopted by the European Commission are singularly discriminatory
against Israel. They contradict international law as established in U.N. documents and leading
court cases, as well as the European Union’s own interpretations of international law.
• The EU provides aid and financial cooperation to numerous countries that maintain settlements
in what Europe considers occupied territory, such as Morocco, Turkey, and Russia. In none of these
cases has the Commission imposed limitations on the aid akin to the Guidelines for Israel.
• The Commission’s position that the Guidelines are mandated by international law are further belied by EU programs that provide grants specifically for settlers in belligerently occupied territory, such as the EU’s programs in Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus.
• Under international law, there are no prohibitions regarding organizations engaging in “activities” in occupied territories, yet the Guidelines bar funding solely on the basis of such “activities.”
• In pretending that the Guidelines fulfill the requirements of international law, the Commission
exposes the EU to legal challenge for EU funding of parallel activity in belligerently occupied
territories around the world, such as Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia and Western Sahara, and exposes
its businesses operating in such places to liability.
• The Guidelines have no precedent in similar arrangements between the U.S. and Israel.
• The Guidelines do not advance the EU position on sovereignty because they do not relate to
activities that legally establish sovereignty or constitute recognition of sovereignty.