‘The era of sanctions against Israel has started’: Official BDS movement statement on new EU regulations against settlements

EU acknowledges obligation to not recognize Israeli colonisation and annexation of occupied Palestinian territory

European Investment Bank to stop loans to ‘virtually all’ major Israeli businesses and public bodies

New European Union guidelines will prevent Israeli ministries, public bodies and businesses that operate in occupied Palestinian territory from receiving loans worth hundreds of millions of Euros each year from the European Investment Bank, it emerged today. The EU will also stop awarding grant funding to Israeli ministries, public bodies or private businesses for activities that take place in occupied Palestinian territory, even if they are headquartered inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

According to a leaked version of the guidelines, the EU aims to ensure that its own institutions respect the obligation to not recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip as well as the Syrian Golan Heights.

The new guidelines exclude any Israeli entity with activity in occupied Palestinian territory from participating in EU financial instruments such as loans. Among those excluded from receiving loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) will be major Israeli banks including Bank Hapoalim, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank and Bank Leumi because they all operate illegally in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), including by having branches in illegal Israeli settlements. Bank Hapoalim received a €75m credit line from the EIB in 2006 and is likely to have put some of that credit towards its wide-ranging settlement financing operations.

Recent EIB loans such as the €120m lent to national Israeli water company Mekorot in 2011 or the €40m lent to electric car company Better Place in 2012 would not have been granted under the new rules as both companies have sizeable illegal settlement activities. The EIB has provided finance amounting to almost €1 billion to Israeli entities since 1981.

Zaid Shuaibi, spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian society that forms the Palestinian leadership and reference for the global BDS movement, said:

“Virtually all Israeli ministries and national authorities, major Israeli banks and other private businesses participate in the discrimination and oppression of our people and the colonization of our country. Many of them play a key role in maintaining and expanding illegal Israeli settlements and infrastructure of the occupation regime. These new guidelines should all but end Israeli eligibility for EIB loans.”

“Regardless of the scope and reach of these European measures they are already sending strong signals around Europe and the world at large that the era of sanctions against Israel has started. These guidelines will undoubtedly further erode Israel’s standing in international public opinion and encourage European and other citizens to seriously consider joining the fast growing BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. The ‘S’ in BDS is becoming more realistic, as a result.”

Michael Deas, BNC Coordinator in Europe, explained:

“These guidelines show that grassroots civil society pressure is forcing the European Union to acknowledge its legal responsibility to not recognize Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinian people and to end some aspects of its deep complicity in maintaining this illegal and criminal system.”

The new guidelines have also been welcomed by students and conscientious academics in Palestine and Europe who have been campaigning against EU funded joint projects between European universities and illegal settlement companies such as cosmetics firm Ahava, which will also be excluded under the new EU eligibility criteria, or between European academic institutions and their Israeli counterparts, all of which are deeply complicit in planning, implementing and justifying Israel’s occupation and apartheid.

“Similar guidelines should also be adopted in order to bring an end to the shameful EU policy of awarding research funding to Israeli military companies, such as Elbit Systems, that ‘field test’ their deadly systems on Palestinian and other Arab civilians. Israeli military companies provide the weaponry and technology that enable Israel to commit atrocities and daily violations of human rights. European taxpayers will wonder why public money is being handed over to Israeli arms companies at a time of deep public spending cuts,” added Shuaibi.

Many leading international figures, including Nobel laureates, have endorsed the Palestinian civil society call for a military embargo against Israel and its weapons companies.

Shuaibi said:

“Although these guidelines are an important step in the right direction, they do not absolve the EU from the legal responsibility to not recognize and support Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid in many other areas. In the area of trade, for example, mere labeling of products from the illegal settlements is not enough, because they can still be sold in European markets. They should be banned completely, because the EU has a responsibility to ensure that Israeli settlements do not benefit from trade in European markets,”

“Moreover, we have yet to see how these guidelines will be implemented by the EU. Civil society, including BDS campaigners, will have to play an important role in monitoring their implementation, making sure that all ineligible Israeli entities are excluded in practice from receiving EU money.”

“As Israel prepares to ethnically cleanse more than 30,000 Bedouin Palestinians from their land in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south of Israel, all of us will have to work hard to make the European Union recognize that Israeli apartheid is the same on both sides of the green line, and that the EU has a responsibility to not recognize the human rights abuses committed by Israeli public and private entities against Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian refugees.”

NOTES

1. The new rules for eligibility for European Union ‘financial instruments’ such as the European Investment Bank are laid out in section 12 b) of the guidelines, which state “In the case of financial instruments, Israeli entities will be considered eligible as final recipients if they do not operate in the territories referred to in point 2 [those occupied by Israel in 1967], either in the framework of EU-funded financial instruments or otherwise.”
http://www.eccpalestine.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/COM-Notice-guidelines-on-IL-and-EU-funding-instruments-compact.pdf

2. Many major Israeli banks operate branches inside occupied Palestinian territory and provide loans to illegal Israeli settlements
http://www.whoprofits.org/company/bank-hapoalim http://www.whoprofits.org/content/financing-israeli-occupation

3. More information on the operations inside occupied Palestinian territory of Mekorot and Better Place is available at the following links
http://electronicintifada.net/content/quartet-ex-envoys-investment-helps-israel-greenwash-settlements/8805
http://stopthewall.org/sites/default/files/Mekorot%20Factsheet%20Final.pdf

4. Elbit Systems – Israel’s leading military company, has received generous EU funding despite its role in supplying drones to Israel used to kill civilians and constructing Israel’s apartheid wall, declared illegal in 2004
http://www.stopthewall.org/stop-eu-research-funding-elbit-iai-and-other-israeli-companies

About Palestinian BDS National Committee

The BDS National Committee (BNC) is the Palestinian coordinating body for the BDS campaign worldwide. For more information, visit www.bdsmovement.net/BNC.
Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine

{ 18 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. amigo says:

    Finally some tough love for the Occupation Nation.

    So what will Israel do now.Punish the Palestinians ~~~~~~ again.

    Will they throw a tantrum and cut off funds or break into Palestinian homes at night trying to get an Intifada going.

    I would say the days of Israel crying victim are over.The gig is up and payback time is at hand .

    None too soon so lets sit back and watch the fireworks as the Zionists blow their tops.

  2. FreddyV says:

    I don’t know if any of you guys have seen this, but Melanie Phillips, the UK’s Daily Mail Zionist mouthpiece has pitched up on this subject, calling it ‘baseless hatred’ from the EU.

    link to melaniephillips.com

    What’s all this San Remo stuff? I’ve done a bit of reading but I’d love Hostage or Talknic to get hold of this.

    • David Samel says:

      Look at Hostage’s Commenter profile and search for Remo. Plenty of material there that, incidentally, I’ve never seen anywhere else.

    • freddy, there are numerous embed’s on this post here:
      link to mondoweiss.net

      It seems as if Club Z is a Zionist boot camp for young teens, with connections to Masha Merkulova, a pro-Israel activist. The group’s Home page and “Learn Page” link to a revisionist history, featuring Howard Grief, who spoke at a settler conference, arguing that the 1920 San Remo conference gave Jews sovereignty over all of historical Palestine. (More on Grief here).

      there are 7 embeds in that one paragraph (scroll to the base of the article) and if you explore them it gives you a sense of where this revisionist history comes from and who supports it. and hostage has decimated all of their arguments time and again on MW.

      • seafoid says:

        San Remo is a crock.
        Like some Great Power meeting could legally dispossess the Palestinians.
        Can the G7 decide Israel no longer exists and the Jews have to get out ?

    • talknic says:

      FreddyV “What’s all this San Remo stuff?”

      This crappolla? ” Article 6 of the Palestine Mandate signed by the League of Nations in 1922 stipulated ‘close Jewish settlement’ on the land west of the Jordan River. “

      The huge hole in her wholly holey moldy olde Hasbara crappolla, is that nowhere does it say a Jewish ‘state’ and; she appears to have missed the first line …

      Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations … etc link to avalon.law.yale.edu

      Article 22 of the Covenant says Palestine was a state with provisional recognition

      And why did she stop at Article 6? Maybe because Article 7, says Jewish folk could get citizenship in Palestine. So it appears to have been a little more than just a ‘geographic area’ ..

      Article 7 The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine. link to avalon.law.yale.edu

      And this crappolla ” That Mandate treaty obligation to settle the Jews in Palestine from the river to the sea has never been abrogated and endures today.”

      The Israeli Govt website tells us it expired May 14th 1948. link to pages.citebite.com But what would they know?

      BTW If it still endures, so does the first line and Article 7. Isn’t she a silly girl…

      But not to outdone in the stupidity stakes she goes on “The 1945 UN Charter, Chapter XII, Article 80 explicitly says than nothing within it shall ‘alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties’”

      The Jewish Agency wasn’t a UN Member and Israel wasn’t a party to it because it expired at midnight May 14th 1948 (ME time) before the Israeli declaration came into effect at 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) according to the Israeli Government plea to be recognized …

      … “as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947″ link to avalon.law.yale.edu

      In short, she’s spouting Red Heifer sh*t

    • Hostage says:

      What’s all this San Remo stuff? I’ve done a bit of reading but I’d love Hostage or Talknic to get hold of this.

      I already have gotten hold of it several times, but you can gauge the truthfulness of her claims about the “San Remo Treaty” by simply searching the League of Nations Treaty series database at the UN using the keywords San Remo. Like everyone else, except the Zionists, you won’t find anything but a “Record Not Found” result. link to treaties.un.org

      The rest of her claims are based upon equally false and deliberately misleading premises.

      • FreddyV says:

        Thank you everyone for commenting. Looking back, I was metaphorically asking for a fish, so I’ve been doing a bit of reading.

        Hostage’s comment about the San Remo ‘Treaty’ is probably the most damning to the whole piece. It’s like Deshowitz’s ‘as we all know’ fabrications. In absence of any referencing device, the author becomes the authority to the reader who’s aim is to be taught and is therefore in a passive / receptive mode. The author immediately abuses their position to their own ends. Kind of sums up Hasbara really.

  3. mikeo says:

    She’s not known as “Mad Mel Phillips” for nothing…

    link to rationalwiki.org

  4. gingershot says:

    Some of the very best news for me is how this synergestically affects the whole entire Neocon/Zionist agenda

    How much more difficult does this make it for Netanyahu, the leader of an Apartheid state, to try to drum up his US/worldwide hoax for an attack on Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons programs, or to intensify sanctions against Iran, when the world sees right thru this clown and SEES his agenda and is more interested in intensifying sanctions against APARTHEID ISRAEL than the Apartheid states’ latest designated victim?

    How much hollower Bibi the Clown with Chutzpah will seem now, with his next cartoon session at the UN

    The whole world can now see Israel for what it is – a pariah Apartheid state trying to endlessly gin up wars throughout the Middle East for it’s own sick needs

    The whole damn Israeli/Neocon wagon is starting to have it’s wheels fall off

  5. seafoid says:

    link to haaretz.com

    “The ongoing Israeli refusal to recognize the occupation for what it is, is liable to cause us eventually to turn ourselves into South Africa. The Zionist insistence on destroying Zionism in the West Bank will cause us to eventually redefine ourselves as Rhodesia. With our own hands, we are bringing ourselves closer to losing the justice of the Zionist cause, to losing the Zionist path and sinking the Jewish national home. ”

    With all due respect to Mr Shavit the justice of the Zionist cause fell by the wayside some time ago.

  6. Bumblebye says:

    UK political news today is harping on about a tweet from Lib-Dem MP David Ward, calling Israel an apartheid state:
    link to guardian.co.uk

    “David Ward, the MP for Bradford East, sent a tweet this weekend in which he asked: “Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the #Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the #apartheid State of #Israel last?”"

    He’s had the party whip withdrawn (= suspension from the party)

    “His suspension, which is due to last eight weeks, is largely symbolic as it comes the day before parliament rises for its summer recess. However, Lib Dems hope it will send a message to Israel and Britain’s Jewish community that the party will not tolerate such offensive comments.

    Ward’s suspension follows a meeting with party leader Clegg, his deputy Simon Hughes, and chief whip Alistair Carmichael on Wednesday.

    In a letter sent to Ward and released to the public, Carmichael said Ward had previously agreed to use language which was “proportionate and precise” but his tweet posted on 13 July failed that test.”

    Apparently a fellow lib-dem, Sir Bob Russell, has been supportive, but he’s been in trouble himself over the apartheid Israel issue.

  7. Joe Catron says:

    I don’t know about this business of “the era of sanctions against Israel … start[ing]” as soon as white people talk about maybe implementing some rather lackadaisical ones. Three dozen countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America don’t even recognize “Israel,” a policy many have maintained continuously since 1948!

    • W.Jones says:

      Joe,

      America was discovered in 1492. Until then, the world did not even know it existed. Yes, the vikings were in Newfoundland, so the 1492 thing is not 100%. But the vikings weren’t fully civilized yet, so they didn’t really “know” what they were doing.

      Anyway, that’s just the background. My point is that when it talks about the era of comething, it means the “real” era. Here it’s talking about the era of decisions by important countries. Of course, that’s been the Palestinians’ problem, hasn’t it, Joe? They are people, but they aren’t really a people in the same way nations are, like English and even Italians count.

      That’s enough sarcasm for now.

  8. thetumta says:

    They could throw some nukes around? They are fanatics, they have them and the means to deliver them anywhere including here? Courtesy of the USA and Germany. First strike time I think, unless we’re being betrayed yet again.
    Hej! Tumta

  9. Hostage says:

    “Similar guidelines should also be adopted in order to bring an end to the shameful EU policy of awarding research funding to Israeli military companies, such as Elbit Systems, that ‘field test’ their deadly systems on Palestinian and other Arab civilians.

    Maybe, but I’d prefer it if the EU would just cut to the chase and use existing guidelines to put the CEO and those responsible behind bars for any crimes against humanity that they have committed. Nonetheless, the news about ineligibility for EIB loans is simply wonderful.

  10. Tzombo says:

    Some Dutch supermarkets (notably Aldi which is big in Germany and even has some US stores) have decided not to wait for guidelines and start clearing products from the settlements from their shelves already: link to trouw.nl