The European Court of Justice: Judicial Burlesque
Since 2005, the EU has given more than $48 million to more than 90 NGOs based in Israel and the West Bank. Although the EU has stressed the importance of transparency to ensure it is open to the public and accountable for its work, there is no transparency whatever regarding the allocation of most of these funds.
The partiality and exaggerated rhetoric of the European Union (EU) against Israel has, in recent weeks, become ever more familiar. It had been hoped that the European Court of Justice, established in 1952 to interpret EU law, and now composed of 27 judges who meet in Luxembourg, would be more impartial than the EU in its decisions on issues regarding Israel. Unfortunately, the record of the Court so far has been disappointing, and its partiality has been shown on a number of occasions. The EU condemned Israel's plans to construct housing units in the four-mile area known as E1 between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim, a settlement of more than 40,000 residents; its High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, said she regarded construction plans in the neighborhoods of Givat Hamatos and Ramat Shlomo as "extremely troubling."
Yet neither the settlements nor the proposed construction have ever prevented negotiations to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is noticeable that the EU has not articulated any serious criticism of the terrorist attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians -- actions that do make a peaceful solution less probable. Further, as Israel's former ambassador to the UN points out, the EU has never criticized the Turkish "settlers" for their "occupation" of Northern Cyprus, or "their own citizens who build beach-front villas in territory under Turkish occupation." [Israel Hayom, January 7, 2013]. There is no mention of "Chinese occupied Tibet," or "Pakistan occupied Kashmir."
The continuing criticism of Israel comes at a moment when 14 of the 27 countries in the EU voted in the UN General Assembly on November 29, 2012 for the resolution that "Palestine" become a nonmember observer state at the UN. Only the Czech Republic voted against the resolution. The EU disregarded the fact that this resolution, a unilateral action, was illegal, a violation by the Palestinians of binding obligations in the Oslo Accords and other agreements with both Israel and the U.N., including Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which guaranteed that the final status arrangements should be reached only through direct negotiations. In addition the EU has refused to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. These decisions do not exactly evidence a record for any kind of EU objectivity; Ireland, arguably the harshest European critic of Israel, just assumed the presidency of the EU on January 1, 2013.
In its judgment on February 20, 2010, the Court ruled that goods produced by Israeli companies based in the disputed territories of the West Bank did not qualify for duty-free import into the EU. The Euro-Mediterranean agreement between the European Community and Israel, signed on November 20, 1995 allows Israeli industrial products to be imported into the EU countries without customs duties. The decision in the 2010 case arose from the application by the German drinks manufacturer Brita to import soda-water makers and drink syrups manufactured by an Israeli firm, Soda Club, based in the settlement of Mishor Adumim. The European Court upheld the refusal of German customs officials to grant exemption from customs duties in this matter.
The Court explained its decision by what may be considered specious reasoning. The European Community (the predecessor of the EU) had signed an agreement on trade and cooperation with the PLO for "the benefit of the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip" on February 24, 1997. The Court held that each of the two association trade agreements had its own "territorial scope;" one scope was the State of Israel, and the other the territory of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Therefore, for the Court, products made by Israel which originated in the West Bank did not fall within the "territorial scope" of the European-Israel agreement, and thus did not qualify for preferential customs treatment. The Court also presumed to considered the presence of Israel in the West Bank "illegal."
The most recent decision by the European Court is pure judicial burlesque. On January 20, 2010 the president of the Israeli think tank, NGO Monitor, who is a British citizen and thus has standing, filed a lawsuit, under the EU's Freedom of Information Law, against the European Commission (EC), the executive arm of the EU, to obtain information found in 200 documents about EC funding of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These bodies often pose as "peace" and "human rights" organizations, " but in reality are highly politicized advocacy groups, attempting to manipulate Israel through boycotts, divestments, sanction, frivolous and malicious lawsuits, and accusations of alleged "war crimes" -- all of which would render them ineligible for EU funding.
These groups include, among scores of others, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, the Public Committee against Torture in Israel, and the Israel Committee against Housing Demolitions. The suit charged that the EU funnels tens of millions of taxpayers' euros to such groups, but with none of the transparency or accountability that are required. The NGO Monitor petition stated that the EU was preventing independent evaluation of its NGO funding.
Evidence for the funding of these groups was in fact clearly revealed in a leaked document of a meeting of the Selection Committee of the EC on September 29, 1999 on NGOs. This document related, among other things, the allocation of funds to support about 20 projects such as Peace Now and those termed spreading "the 'peace message' among the radical Jewish settlers."
After refusing for over a year to supply the requested information, the EC did supply some documents with most of the details redacted or deleted. The original EU refusal to release information, as, according to the European Freedom of Information Law, it must, was blocked on the mystifying grounds that revealing the requested information might pose a danger to "public security" and "commercial interests" in the unstable Middle East.
The European Court itself agreed on November 27, 2012, that the EU did not provide the documents in a timely fashion and this was "an implicit decision to refuse access." The Court found that EU officials had censured details of the documents and the conclusions concerning them; yet, illogically, it upheld the denial of access, and rejected the claim for information as "manifestly inadmissible" and "in part manifestly lacking any foundation in law."
Since June 2005, the EU has given more than $48 million to over 90 NGOs based in Israel and the West Bank, who are regarded as critical of Israel. A double problem exists. These groups are partisan and critical of Israel. Moreover, although the EU itself has stressed the importance of a high level of transparency to ensure that it is open to public scrutiny and accountable for its work, there is no transparency whatever regarding the allocation of most of these funds. It would appear, as the founder and head of NGO Monitor, Dr. Gerald Steinberg, commented, "the only reasonable conclusion is that the EU has something to hide," and that the "secret funding funding of Israeli NGOs grossly impinges on and seeks to manipulate the Israeli democratic process."
Michael Curtis is author of Should Israel Exist? A Sovereign Nation under attack by the International Community.
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|What a bunch of fools [74 words]||Middle East Watcher||Jan 12, 2013 22:18|
|Hypocrasy in the EU [28 words]||Ethan P.||Jan 10, 2013 06:10|
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by Burak Bekdil
In Turkey however, the protests were not peaceful. They included smashing a sculpture than was neither Jewish nor Israeli.
It was the usual "We-Muslims-can-kill each other-but-Jews-cannot" hysteria.
If Turkish crowds were protesting against Israel in a political dispute, why Koranic slogans? Why were they protesting in Arabic rather than their native language? Do Turks chant German slogans to protest nuclear energy?
by Burak Bekdil
So in the EU-candidate Turkey, a pianist should be punished for his re-tweets, but a pop-singer should be congratulated for her first-class racist hate-speech. This is contagious.
No reporter present at Mr. Ihsanoglu's campaign launch speech thought about asking him if his commitment to the "Palestinian cause" included any affirmation of the Hamas Charter, in particular a section that says, "…The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"
Turkey is also the country where a few years earlier, a group of school teachers (yes, school teachers!) gathered in a demonstration to commemorate Hitler.
by Debalina Ghoshal
Despite Chapter VII of the UN Charter and UNSC Resolutions, it seems that North Korea will continue developing its missiles -- and eventually weaponize them with nuclear warheads.
"North Korea's ballistic and nuclear threat is very much a near-term threat. ... Steady progression in their program is not harmless." — Victor Cha, Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
On March 26, 2014, North Korea reportedly test-fired medium-range ballistic Rodong missiles -- capable of reaching Japan and U.S. military bases in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since February, South Korean officials claim that North Korea has confirmed at least 90 test-firings, among which ten were ballistic missiles.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
It is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.
Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."
by Burak Bekdil
A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!
A quick internet search, if you typed "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.
Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.