This is a proper 9 B’Av story, not so much because it bears destruction of some vital financial and cultural concerns for the Jewish State, but because it will surely deepen the divide inside Israel’s population, between left and right, or, more accurately, between those inside the green line and those on the other side.
Some antisemitic expressions are visceral and spontaneous, and so make it easier to regard them as part of the antisemite’s disturbed personality and move on. But some, very much including the subject of this story, are obviously the brainchildren of a committee, in this case a collaboration between Israeli leftists and the most repugnant elements inside the European Union.
Violating my own rule that the first one to mention the Holocaust in a debate loses, I feel compelled to say that to start a pogrom all you need is a bunch of peasants and a highly motivated priest, but to start Auschwitz you need the Wannsee Conference.
Ha’aretz reported Tuesday morning that, on June 30, the European Union has published a binding directive to all 28 member states forbidding any funding, cooperation, awarding of scholarships, research funds or prizes to anyone residing in the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria and in East Jerusalem. In addition, the directive requires that any future deal to be signed with Israel must include an item that determines that the settlements are not part of sovereign Israel and therefore are not part of the deal.
The new directive, disseminated by the European Commission—the executive arm of the European Union—sets the parameters of cooperation between the EU and its member countries and Israeli private and governmental entities in the years 2014 through 2020. It is expected to take effect this Friday, July 18.
A senior official in Jerusalem who spoke anonymously to Ha’aretz said the new directive is dramatic and constitutes “an earthquake.” The most significant part of the directive is the “territorial item” which appears for the first time as a compulsory component in all deals between Israel and the EU. The new item determines which areas inside Israel are eligible to receive cooperation from the EU and which are not. It determines that deals would pertain only to areas within the EU-recognized, pre-1967 Israeli borders.
“This is the first time that such an official, explicit directive is being disseminated by the EU institutions,” the senior official said. “Until today there were understandings and there were tacit agreements that the EU does not operate beyond the green line, but now they’ve turned it into an official and binding prohibition.”
The anonymous senior official pointed out that although there are some concrete ramifications to the new directive, its effect is mostly political. It will mean a humiliating blow to any Israeli government signing any contract with the EU or a member country, each time stating for the record that Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem are not an integral part of the state.
According to Ha’aretz, there’s a great deal of anxiety in the prime minister’s and the foreign offices, and that desperate attempts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin to prevent the directive have failed. Senior officials at the EU have suggested that they are interested in maintaining a dialog with Israel on this matter, but since the directive takes effect this coming Friday chances are low for even a temporary suspension.
The new directive has an exception for dealing with Israeli government entities which physically reside in east Jerusalem, such as the Ministry of Justice, but only if the subject of discussion is within the green line.
“We will have to decide what we’re doing as of today,” another senior Israeli official told Ha’aretz. “We are not prepared to sign on to such an item in our contracts with the EU. We can say as much to the Europeans, but the result may be the termination of our entire cooperation in the areas of the economy, science, culture, sports and academia. It would inflict a heavy damage on Israel.”