Between 2012-2014, the EU financed the building of more than 400 illegal structures in Area C identified by an affixed EU flag. The EU claimed diplomatic immunity and refused to appear in court when sued for illegal construction.
More than 70 years after the Holocaust, the European Union has been involved in demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish State through actions inimical to Israel’s existence. They include indirect funding of terrorist activities, refusals to examine this misdirection of funds, assistance to build illegal Palestinian communities within Israel’s boundaries, and criticism of Israel’s attitudes towards Palestinians as “ethnic cleansing.” These EU activities have gone on for the past 25 years, and represent a persistent undermining of the Jewish State under the guise of European humanitarianism.
Since the beginning of the Oslo process in 1992, the EU has backed the Palestinian Authority, becoming one of its main financial supporters. Since 1993, the EU and its member states have given over four billion euros to the PA and a variety of Palestinian NGOs. Ostensibly, these funds were meant to develop democratic institutions as well as promote education and prosperity among Palestinians. In actual practice, a substantial portion of the European funding has fueled corruption and terrorism.
In 2004, Ilka Schroeder, an EU member of parliament representing the German Green party, called for an investigation of this EU-funding. She accused the governmental body of “winking approval of terrorist attacks” by “financing a murderous anti-Semitic terrorist war against Israel.” Further, she proclaimed, “It is a well known fact that the EU-funding for the Palestinian Authority was channeled to a black budget.”
As part of her investigation, Schroeder uncovered evidence that PA terrorist leader, Yasser Arafat, had personally signed checks to people linked to terrorist activity. Ultimately, the EU declined her request for a full inquiry and for an accounting and recovery of misappropriated funds.
Even though Israel had provided the European Commission with poof of this illicit use of EU-funding as early as 2002, Chris Patten, the then-European commissioner for external relations, refused calls for investigation. He also denied any knowledge of how the money was used or evidence of serious problems. Furthermore, despite PA-orchestrated terrorist attacks and the launch of thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian territory, Patten characterized the PA’s survival as vital to peace prospects in the region.
In 2012, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that 16% of annual foreign donations to the PA were used as payments to terrorists and their families. NGO Palestinian Media Watch has repeatedly demonstrated how EU funding supports hate literature and hate education against Jews. Some of these materials even describe Jews as apes and rats and deny any Israeli connection to the land.
That same year, under the guise of providing humanitarian aid, the EU announced funding for the “development of land and basic infrastructure” for Bedouin and Palestinian communities in an area under the municipal jurisdiction of Israel referred to as Area C. Under the Oslo Accords which were ratified by the EU, Area C was designated as Israel’s full responsibility and Areas A and B were under full civil control of the Palestinian Authority. But in an attempt to grab more Israeli land for a future state, the PA refused to provide housing for Bedouins and Palestinians in Areas A and B, thereby forcing them into Area C.
Thus, the EU funding constituted illegal building activity and a subversion of Israel’s sovereign authority as a result, a huge upsurge occurred in the number of illegal Bedouin village structures and encampments on both sides of the highway from the entrance to Jerusalem all the way to the Dead Sea. Between 2012-2014, the EU financed the building of more than 400 illegal structures without Israeli government permission in violation of the country’s zoning and building laws. These structures, made from modular panels and identified by an affixed EU flag, could be built within hours.
This joint EU-PA “building project” was designed to wrest control of Area C from Israel. The ramshackle communities lacked water, sewage, electricity, refuse collection and other infrastructure requirements. They became blighted centers of poverty, crime and environmental pollution, many near main roads, near military bases, or on designated nature reserves as well as on historic and Christian holy sites. They came nowhere close to meeting stringent EU environmental policies existent in Europe and, instead, created environmental damage from
garbage disposal and rampant burning. In addition, children are bused long distances to school instead of attending local schools. Regavim, an Israeli NGO that monitors building development in Area C, has videos of Palestinian children throwing rocks at passing motorists.
These illegal communities created a foothold for theft of Israel’s land and served the EU-PA purpose of generating bad press for the Jewish state. When Israel rightfully demolished the illegal properties, a public relations nightmare ensued, featuring Israel as a heartless aggressor.
Except when it comes to Israel, it would be inconceivable that a foreign government would have the temerity to stealthily finance the building of illegal housing in a sovereign nation in another part of the world. Not only would this not be tolerated but it would most likely cause an international incident. Yet, in a further display of hubris, the EU claimed diplomatic immunity and refused to appear in court when sued for illegal construction by Regavim.
In 2014, the Israeli government proposed a solution for the EU-sponsored squatter population in Area C. It proposed building a modern town near Jericho with sanitation, education, health and welfare services within 500 acres of state lands. The new community would replace the illegal hovels that violate building, zoning, sanitation and environmental laws. Astonishingly, the EU objected to this proposal and sent representatives on solidarity missions to support the Bedouin squatters. In 2016, when Israel took down some of the illegal EU structures in Area C, the EU considered suing for damages.
Criticisms of Israel for so-called “ethnic cleansing” fall into the category of blatant hypocrisy considering Europe’s policy of openly discriminating against its Roma population. Over the past few years, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Italy have carried out waves of expulsions against Europe’s largest ethnic minority, estimated at 16 million. They have used newly created legislation to destroy hundreds of Roma encampments while welcoming Muslim “refugees” from the Middle East and North Africa with open arms and liberal benefits. France alone has deported close to 10,000 Romas and sent them to live in Romania, Bulgaria and Kosovo. Even Amnesty International has criticized Europe’s harsh treatment of Romas and discrimination against them, poor living conditions and their lack of educational access. In the case of the Romas, rather than get involved in the humanitarian crisis, the European Commission deemed the issue best handled by individual states.
All these actions can be interpreted as attacks on the legitimacy of Israel’s sovereignty and defense of its territory. They represent still-existent and still-persistent European anti-Semitism, especially with the EU’s past refusals to officially designate Hizbollah and Hamas as terrorist entities and EU support for anti-Israel boycotts, divestments and sanction campaigns.
The false portrayals of Palestinian suffering, especially when humane and beneficial solutions are rejected, demonstrate that they are a ruse masquerading as humanitarian concerns. In realty, they are a clear attempt by the EU to lay claim to Israeli land and further undermine the Jewish State.