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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Germans blast EU sanctions

That didn't take long. The first cracks in European Union solidarity against Israel have begun to show. Germany is backing away from European Union sanctions against Israel that are intended to shut off European money from Judea and Samaria.
In a statement issued by MP Philipp Missfedler, the Bundestag spokesman for German chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party and its coalition partner the Bavarian Christian Social Union, he stated the guidelines are “pure ideology and symbolic politics” and will not contribute to finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Missfelder stated it is encouraging that the Federal Government has moved away from the new EU directives, which declared that from January 1 2014, Israeli projects in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights will no longer be given European Union financial backing.
He added that the European regulations are not “objective requirements” because over the last seven years of the approximately 800 million Euros of financial aid from Brussels to Israel, only 0.5% was funneled into projects covering the disputed territories.
“Israel is the recognized administrative power in the territories without which approved development projects like solar energy or sewage works could not be installed," Missfelder stated.
He continued that an implementation of the new EU guidelines could mean an “end of research cooperation with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem because some of their academics have an address in East Jerusalem." 
Missfelder said the EU guidelines have a similar quality to the recent legislative initiative of the Green Party in the Bundestag to label products from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
The Green Party legislative initiative also fails to contribute to a” constructive solution of the conflict in the Palestinian territories,” said Missfelder.
He added that "instead of issuing statements hostile to Israel, the Green Party faction should concentrate on a solution to the essential questions of the Middle East conflict: Israel’s right to exist, an end to terrorism and fundamentalist violence, as well as the creation of a foundation for a two state solution, with final borders for both states.”
Missfelder’s disavowal of the product labeling measure appears to contradict Germany’s Ambassador to Israel, Andreas Michaelis, who defended in a June Jerusalem Post opinion article labeling Israeli products made in the West Bank.
Keep in mind that these directives were not unanimously adopted by the EU, but rather were a response from the European Council to guidelines adopted (unanimously?) by its Foreign Affairs Council in December 2012. Still, I find it discouraging that Europe can find unanimity to condemn Israel, but not to declare Hezbullah a terror organization.

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