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How the EU mocks the victims of Israel’s crimes

Ali Abunimah Power Suits 18 October 2017

On Wednesday morning, Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian-owned building in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.

As usual, the pretext was that the owners had failed to obtain a permit – something the occupation municipality almost never grants to Palestinians.

A day earlier, nine Palestinians were made homeless when Israeli forces demolished two houses in the Silwan neighborhood, using the same pretext.

The Palestinian online publication Quds tweeted this video of the demolition in progress:


According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, a local organization, among the newly homeless Palestinians are several children.

Speaking amid the ruins of his house, Omar Abu Rajab told Palestinian media that Israeli forces came early in the morning and refused to postpone the destruction despite ongoing court challenges to the demolition order.

Silwan is the target of the most extensive Israeli plan to expel Palestinians in years. The plan paves the way for Jewish settlers.

Last year was a record year for Israeli demolitions in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem.

This is all part of Israel’s plan to transform the occupied Palestinian city into a Jewish theme park run by and for settlers.

“Since 1967, the government of Israel has directly engaged in the construction of 55,000 units for Israelis in East Jerusalem; in contrast, fewer than 600 units have been built for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the last of which were built 40 years ago,” Daniel Seidemann of the nonprofit group Terrestrial Jerusalem told the Ma’an News Agency in light of Tuesday’s demolitions.

Colonization surge
This week Israel began construction of 1,600 housing units in the so-called Givat Hamatos settlement in the occupied West Bank, south of Jerusalem.

For the first time in years, Israel also gave approval for new settlement construction in the heart of the West Bank city of Hebron.

And why not? Despite the UN Security Council declaring repeatedly – most recently in December – that all of Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law, Israel faces no consequences for its crimes.

On Wednesday, the European Union put out a statement about Israel’s reinvigorated settlement drive, its forced expulsions of Palestinian Bedouins and its evictions of Palestinian families in Jerusalem.

The statement does not clearly condemn Israel’s actions. Instead, it says the EU “has requested clarifications from Israeli authorities and conveyed the expectation that they reconsider these decisions, which are detrimental to ongoing efforts towards meaningful peace talks.”

This is diplomatic speak for: we barely have the courage to even criticize you, let alone to take action.

Meek “demand”
True, the statement does repeat the EU’s lip service that “all settlement activity is illegal under international law.”

But this begs the question: What “clarifications” does the EU still require after five decades of open, aggressive Israeli colonization in the occupied West Bank and elsewhere?

On Wednesday, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that eight European states are about to take the “unprecedented” step of threatening to demand $35,000 in compensation from Israel for the structures and equipment they funded in the West Bank that Israeli forces recently confiscated.

While this move is being marketed as a bold and tough European step, it only underlines how timid the EU really is. The sum in question is a tiny fraction of the at least $74 million in European-funded aid projects that Israel has destroyed with impunity.

EU support for Israel’s crimes
The fact is that the EU is an active enabler of Israel’s crimes.

Despite a growing legal consensus that international law requires countries to ban trade with Israeli settlements outright, the EU looks away as Israel defies its weak and ineffective requirements to label such goods.

Some EU officials even declare that settlement products are “welcome” in European supermarkets.

By contrast to the decades of EU inaction over Israel’s violations, the 28-member bloc was quick to impose sanctions on Russia over its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

As Israeli politicians put forward plans for ethnic cleansing and genocide, the EU refuses to condemn them. Recently, the EU even hired an Israeli genocide advocate to help with its public relations efforts.

While Israel’s biggest arms maker helps Israel evade an international ban on cluster weapons, the EU continues to lavish it with millions of dollars of “research” funds.

That’s in addition to funding Israeli torturers.

And as Israel aims to censor and suppress the Palestine solidarity movement by smearing criticism of its crimes as anti-Semitism, the EU volunteers to help.
Israel knows that EU statements are worthless. It knows that it can freely demolish Palestinian schools funded by European governments and the EU will do nothing in response.

Israel and Palestinians know that the real EU is not the one that regularly pretends to be “concerned” about settlements, but the one whose Tel Aviv ambassador Emanuele Giaufret warmly grips the hands of Israeli leaders like Naftali Bennett – an open supporter of apartheid who boasts about killing Arabs.

With all this complicity and more, EU statements like the one issued Wednesday should not be understood as criticism of Israel. They should be taken for what they really are: mockery of the Palestinian victims of the Israeli crimes the EU continues to incentivize and reward.

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How the EU mocks the victims of Israel s crimes

Tags: #Occupation

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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