FM Avigdor Liberman tenders resignation over indictment

December 16, 2012

sounds political motivated. Israeli politics rarely play well for the media who want to read into them whatever they want to see to libel someone for being overly Pro Jew. Of course I’d be as bad as everyone else if I claimed to know for sure, but I suspect that there are motions from America to disable the Democratic process in Israel. Obama has come to realize that he has no influence politically within Israel and I could see this as a measure to disable someone he sees as a threat to forcing Jews to give land up for nothing in return but violence, bombs and threats for more violence.

(Carl)If Lieberman insists on going to trial, he will not be finished in time to be appointed to a ministerial position in the next Knesset. If he cops a plea, he will not get the exoneration he seeks.
If the public gets its wishes, the next government will be formed by Likud-Beiteinu, Labor and Jewish Home. Labor claims they won’t go into a government with someone under indictment (kind of ironic, given that Labor was by far the most corrupt party until Ehud K. Olmert came along). If that holds, look for Labor’s place in the next government to be taken by the Haredi parties. In fact, even if it doesn’t hold, I cannot see Labor going into the government because government that includes both the Likud and Jewish Home will not sufficiently support the ‘peace process’ for Labor’s tastes.
A mentch tracht un Got Maft (people think and God does)….

(jpost.com)Following meetings with legal team, foreign minister to leave post over pending indictment for fraud, breach of trust; Likud officials say Liberman will still play central role in campaign, he has not resigned from Knesset.   Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman resigned on Sunday from his positions as foreign minister and deputy prime minister on Sunday, due to the pending indictment against him for fraud and breach of public trust. The resignation will take effect on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

“I am leaving temporarily. I assume this will be as short as possible,” he said, after what he described as four fascinating years in the foreign ministry.
Related:
Analysis: Liberman’s not going anywhere

Regarding media reports, including that he resigned and was seeking a plea bargain following consultations with his pollster Arthur Finklestein, Liberman said, “I really hope it [legal proceedings] will be fast. I read in the papers what I didn’t do and what I didn’t say…there’s no intent for a plea bargain, rather to go to court. I’m not disqualifying any options, but first to go to court, that is the right and correct path.”
He continued that, “200% I didn’t talk with Finklestein about resigning and not about the legal proceedings.”
Upon his announcement of his intent to resign on Friday, media reports – including a source close to Liberman who spoke to The Jerusalem Post – surfaced saying that his lawyers claimed that they and state attorney lawyers would arrive at a quick plea bargain which would allow him to jump right into a job as a minister in the new government.
The Ministry of Justice on the other hand, made no mention of any contacts toward a plea bargain. Appearing ready to move forward with the case, the ministry noted only that, “the indictment is ready to be filed. To the extent that the defense requests that the court to speed up the case, the state attorney’s office will consent to the request.”
Pressed over whether if it would be possible to complete the trial in only a few months, a scenario which could, in the best case scenario for Liberman, allow him to jump back into the government as a minister when the new government is formed, the justice ministry spokesman refused to commit to any timeline.
The timeline “depends on the court’s decisions,” said the spokesman.
It is not impossible, but it is hard to imagine a trial moving at such breakneck speed. The first corruption trial of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, for example, took around four years.
No one expects Liberman’s case to take as long as the facts are simpler, there are far fewer documents to gather and connect for the case and much of the background for the case (obviously not the legal conclusions about Liberman) has been effectively proven in the conviction of former Ambassador Zeev Ben-Aryeh, at the center of the case.
Still, the prosecution will need to call witnesses from the foreign ministry regarding Ben-Aryeh’s promotions and it is unclear how long that will take and if the process can be concluded in only a few months.
Legally, if there is no plea bargain and no conclusion to the trial before the next government is formed, Liberman might be able to still become a minister, but only if neither the High Court of Justice nor the Attorney-General disqualify him.
Regarding his emotional state and concerns, Liberman stated that he was, “Not worried personally, I only worry for the voters,” referencing what he said were 400,000 people who voted for Yisrael Beyteun in the last election.
He added that the “cup is half full, with more time to work on the campaign” and finished with same phrase he used hours before it was announced that he would be indicted – “everything is the garden of eden” (everything is fine).
Likud officials said that they wont hide Liberman in the campaign and that he will play a central role. They added that they appreciated his resignation because it enables the election to return to key diplomatic and security issues rather than focusing on Liberman.
Liberman announced Friday that he would be stepping down, hours after Meretz filed a petition asking the High Court of Justice to order his resignation.
In a statement published by his office, Liberman said his legal counsel advised him he did not have to resign. Nonetheless, he said he would do so in order to fight the charges against him, thereby enabling him to serve in the next government if exonerated. Liberman has denied all wrongdoing and called for expedited legal proceedings.
To this end, Liberman said he would immediately drop his parliamentary immunity, “so that after 16 years during which investigations have been carried out against me, I can conclude this matter quickly, without delay and clear my name.
“I am also doing this because I am convinced Israeli citizens have the right to go to the polls with this matter already having been decided,” he said, in the hope the legal proceedings against him are concluded before the January 22 election.
Liberman added that he hopes he will be able to continue serving Israel “as part of a strong and united leadership in order to face the security, diplomatic and economic challenges that the State of Israel is facing.”
The prime minister spoke with Liberman on Friday afternoon ahead of his resignation announcement, telling the foreign minister that he hopes he will “prove his innocence as quickly as possible” and quickly return to a senior position in the government.
A source in the Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu would retain the title of foreign minister until the next government is formed, dispelling rumors that a Likud minister such as Vice Premier Silvan Shalom or Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor would be given the post.
According to Israeli constitutional processes, when a minister resigns, his deputy automatically resigns with him.
Netanyahu and Liberman both want Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon to remain in his post, so Netanyahu is expected to ask the Knesset to approve Ayalon’s reappointment.
Liberman’s decision follows Weinstein’s surprise announcement on Thursday that he will charge the foreign minister not only with breach of trust, but also with fraud, in a 2008 case involving obstruction of justice by former ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben- Aryeh.
It was widely predicted that Liberman would be charged with breach of trust for allegedly not revealing that Ben- Aryeh leaked information to him regarding a separate investigation against him when he visited the ambassador in Belarus in 2008. But the charge that by allegedly helping Ben-Aryeh advance to two additional positions in the Foreign Ministry as “payment” for Ben-Aryeh’s leaking classified information to Liberman, he had committed fraud, came as a surprise.
At the same time, Weinstein decided to close the “main” case against Liberman, regarding wider and more serious allegations of money-laundering millions of dollars, fraud and other allegations from 2001 to 2008.
Weinstein took the first step in the indictment process on Thursday when he sent the indictment text to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, asking him to remove Liberman’s parliamentary immunity so the indictment could be filed in court. But Liberman’s announcement that he was waiving his immunity preempted Rivlin and the Knesset taking action, which could have been put off by up to 30 days.
Reacting to Liberman’s resignation, a Meretz spokesman said the party would withdraw the petition once he actually handed in his resignation or upon a decision by the court, whichever came first.
Leaders from the Center-Left praised Liberman’s decision to resign.
Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich welcomed Liberman’s move, saying the indictment had “severely undermined the rule of law and the public’s trust in its elected leadership and democracy.” She said that “he who is indicted cannot serve even one day as a public emissary.”
The Labor leader said she would not sit in a government in which anyone under indictment served, and called on the heads of all political parties to boycott any such cabinet.
The No. 2 candidate on The Tzipi Livni Party’s electoral list, Amram Mitzna, called Weinstein’s ruling the most severe condemnation of an Israeli public figure ever. He urged the public to read it to understand who the No. 2 man in the Likud Beytenu joint list really was.
“The public should ask itself if it wants a government with Liberman after this lethal indictment,” Mitzna said. “Public figures who want to lead must be clean beyond all doubt. If he remains a Knesset candidate, I hope it makes Likud Beytenu supporters rethink their votes.”
Gil Hoffman, Charles Bybelezer, Michael Omer-Man, Ben Hartman contributed to this story.


Lieberman tells the truth again: ‘Palestinian police’ who attack IDF soldiers shouldn’t live to talk about it

December 11, 2012

Yet another politically incorrect statement from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who told Israel Radio on Tuesday that ‘Palestinian police’ who attack Israeli soldiers ‘shouldn’t remain alive.’
But first, let’s go to the videotape and see the incident from last Thursday in Hebron that prompted Lieberman’s comment.

And here’s Lieberman.

Palestinian policeman who strike IDF soldiers “should not remain alive,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Israel Radio on Tuesday.

“I will not accept a situation in which an IDF soldier in Hebron gets punched by a Palestinian policeman and that policeman remains alive,” Liberman said. “I don’t accept that.”

He should take it up with the Defense Ministry and the IDF. And there’s what to take up.

Soldiers have complained that rules of engagement, which call for restraint but allow shots to be fired in case of an immediate threat to life, are too foggy to be applied clearly.

“It can’t be that Israeli solders will be hit and punched, and [the Palestinians] will stay alive,” Liberman repeated. “Whoever thinks that our actions are having a calming effect is wrong. In fact, it’s the opposite. We’re only motivating them to provoke us further.”

Central Command officers have identified a sharp rise in the number of violent disturbances in the West Bank in recent weeks, resulting in a call to forces to increase awareness at all levels.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak is retiring after the elections. Will Israel get a defense minister who is more interested in defending the country than in defending his relations with the Left? Stay tuned.


After Ceasefire New Poll Shows Significant Drop in Support for Netanyahu, Rising Right Wing

November 22, 2012
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Photo: LIFE.

A new Israeli poll released this morning, and conducted following the cease-fire with Hamas, announced yesterday after 8 days of fighting, shows a significant drop in public support for Israeli Prime Minister Netanayhu.
The poll which was commissioned by Israel’s Knesset website and conducted by the Panels Institute shows Netanyahu’s joint list with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, named Likud-Beiteinu dropping significantly from a current 42 seats combined to 33 seats.
Israel’s Labor party gained two seats from a previous poll rising to 22 seats, and the Yesh Atid party of former Journalist Yair Lapid dropped from 13 seats to 11.
Strong gains on Israel’s right were marked by the Jewish Home party headed by former Netanyahu Chief of Staff Naftali Bennett which rose from 11 to 13 seats, and the Power to Israel party of Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad, now projected to win 4 seats. The Orthodox Shas party remained static in the poll with 10 mandates, while Meretz and United Torah Judaism both came in with 6 seats.
The new figures may be a result of the unpopularity in Israel of the ceasefire agreement, which a Channel 2 poll taken before the ceasefire was announced concluded that 70% of Israelis opposed.
According to Israeli website Walla, a Likud mister who did not wish to be named said that the, “public response is very, very difficult. We do not remember such a magnitude of an enraged response. People call and say: this time we will not vote Likud.”
Another minister is quoted as saying that a reserve soldier said: “A week ago all of my battalion were Likudniks. Now, if you think anyone would vote Likud You’re kidding yourself.”
Another minister coming to the defense of Netanyahu said that the situation was more complicated, citing the famous Israeli saying: “what you see from here is not visible from there.”
Israeli political commentator and Algemeiner blogger, Arik Elman, said that he is not sure if these results will hold in the longer term. “Obviously the first reaction to the agreement is deep disappointment,” he said,  ”and that is before all Israeli concessions to Hamas on the issues of movement and border crossings have been realized.”
“Likud Beitenu voters many of whom live in the South feel that Netanyahu and Lieberman bowed to Ehud Barak,” he continued. However he said, “it is hard to tell whether this opinion climate will endure – there are two months to elections, and if the calm will hold, perhaps Netanyahu will yet persuade right-wing voters to support him and not the untested alternative in the person of Naftali Bennett.”
“On the other hand,” he added, “Labor is benefiting from the renewed public image of Amir Peretz, who is considered a “father” of the Iron Dome and savior of lives.”
“The accounts of the negotiations published so far reveal that the Israeli government bowed to the American request not to push Egypt too far and accepted conditions that it first considered unsatisfying,” he concluded.

Naftali Bennett will support Likud if in danger of the Left ever taking over and if there were ever any bowing to the tyranny of the Obama administration. As for a guy like Amir Peretz taking credit for an Anti missile system… that is just typical of those who are self righteous in their own mind… like in Al Gore’s claim to of created the internet, they take credit for things that were made by millions through hard work.


PA bid: Israel threatens to topple Abbas

November 14, 2012

(ynetnews.com)A Foreign Ministry draft position paper states that should the Palestinian Authority receive the status of a non-member state at the United Nations, the only viable option would be “to overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.” The paper, drafted ahead of the Palestinians’ November 29 UN bid, said that “a soft response would be tantamount to an Israeli admission that it cannot handle the challenge.”

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The document further reveals that Abbas has serious concerns that he will meet the same fate as Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and ousted Tunisian leader Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali.

“In addition, the Saudis are accusing him of lack of efficiency and corruption,” the paper said.

“Several Gulf states are also angry with Abbas for his removal of Mohammed Dahlan who is trying to convince Arab leaders that Abu Mazen is no longer relevant. As a result he has lost the support of important patrons in the Arab world.” 

FM: Abbas doesn’t represent anyone anymore
US, EU urge Abbas to postpone UN bid

The document further reveals that Abbas has serious concerns that he will meet the same fate as Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, former Mohammed Dahlan who is trying to convince Arab leaders that Abu Mazen is no longer relevant. As a result he has lost the support of important patrons in the Arab world.”

However, the Foreign Ministry also recommended offering the PA some rewards.


Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu Join Forces

October 26, 2012
PM Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Liberman(Jewish Press) In a move that took everyone by surprise, including their own senior party members, Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party and the Benajmin Netanyahu’s Likud have joined forces ahead of the upcoming elections, and will be running as a joint list.

There will be a press conference on Thursday night at 8:00 PM in the Dan Panorama Hotel in Jerusalem,  where they will officially announce the merger.
Channel 2 said the joint party will be called “Likud-Beyteinu”. Netanyahu will be number 1 on the list, followed by Liberman who will be his number 2.
Liberman used to be a member of the Likud, and broke away to form his own party in 1997. At the time the speculation was this was part of a larger master plan, where Liberman would attract the Russian votes that the Likud couldn’t, and support the Likud with the seats they gained.
The Likud currently has 27 seats, and Yisrael Beiteinu 15. This merger has the potential to increase their seats, as well as practically  guarantee that they will be the largest party and bloc in the upcoming election.
Internal surveys say the joint list could win up to 50 seats.


Time to Remove Brussels’s Hezbollah Blinders

August 5, 2012

Daniel Schwammenthal..
Wall Street Journal..
02 August ’12..
When terrorists struck in Bulgaria last month, killing five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver, Jerusalem immediately accused Hezbollah and its Iranian paymasters of the crime. Tehran and Hezbollah, as always, denied it. But no matter who carried out this atrocity on European Union territory, the EU’s continued refusal to put Hezbollah on its terror list is simply indefensible.
Not designating the group as a terrorist organization gives the pioneers of Islamist suicide bombings the opportunity to organize, recruit and raise funds throughout the Continent. There are about 950 Hezbollah members and supporters in Germany alone, according to Berlin’s domestic intelligence service. Hezbollah has also sent operatives from Europe to Israel for terror attacks.
Placing the group on the EU’s terrorist list would allow authorities to freeze Hezbollah assets and increase cross-border cooperation in fighting their crimes. Raising or providing funds for Hezbollah terrorists within EU territory would become a criminal offense. Police and judicial authorities would have greater powers to work with their colleagues in other member states, for example in sharing evidence or information about movements and activities of Hezbollah operatives. Law enforcement agencies would also have more possibilities to investigate and curtail Hezbollah activities in the EU, such as by suppressing the recruitment of new members.
When Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman last week urged Europe to finally do the right thing, the foreign minister of Cyprus, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, had the unenviable task of having to enunciate the EU’s incomprehensible position: “Should there be tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism, the EU would consider listing the organization,” Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis said during a joint press conference in Brussels.
Can there really be any reasonable doubt among EU officials about the true nature of Hezbollah? Back in 1983, 58 French peacekeeping troops alongside 241 U.S. marines were butchered in Hezbollah suicide bombings in Beirut, followed by the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in the Lebanese capital, according to U.S. officials. Argentina accused the group of killing 85 people in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, underscoring its global reach.
Hezbollah also supports organizations that are already on the EU terrorist list, such as Hamas. In addition, Syrian regime defectors have revealed that thousands of Hezbollah men (and Iranians) are in Syria as “military consultants” for President Bashar Assad, keeping themselves busy killing protestors. They supplied the same murderous services to Iran to put down the 2009 “Green Revolution.” And for decades Hezbollah has terrorized hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians, indiscriminately raining missiles on men, women and children, murdering scores in the process.
This is why the U.S., Canada and Australia, as well as the Netherlands and the U.K.—two EU “renegades”—have already added Hezbollah to their terror lists. Likewise, the European Parliament passed a resolution in 2005 by a vote of 475 to eight, stating “that clear evidence exists of terrorist activities by Hezbollah. The [EU] Council should take all necessary steps to curtail them.”
That the EU still hasn’t done so must be due to a lack of political will, rather than a lack of evidence. Hezbollah is “an organization that comprises a political party and a social services network as well as an armed wing,” Ms. Kozakou-Marcoullis said last week, recounting official EU policy. “Hezbollah is active in Lebanese politics, including the parliament and the government, and plays a specific role with regard to the status quo in Lebanon.”
Let’s have a quick look at that “specific role.” Last year, the United Nations tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri issued arrest warrants for four Hezbollah members for carrying out the truck bombing that killed Hariri and 22 other people. In 2008, Hezbollah took over Western Beirut in what the government at the time called a “bloody coup.” In the ensuing fighting, about 100 people, many of them civilians, were killed.
Is this really the sort of “status quo” the EU wants to continue validating? Created and funded by Tehran, Hezbollah serves the interest of the two most oppressive regimes left standing in the region: Iran and Syria. How does this square with the EU’s “New Strategy for a Changing European Neighborhood,” which promises Arabs that their “struggle for democracy, dignity, prosperity and safety from persecution would be supported by Europe?”
The artificial distinction between Hezbollah’s “armed wing,” as the EU so delicately puts it, and the organization’s “political” or “social” activities is meaningless. Hezbollah is a terror group to its core. Even when pretending to play the political game, it doesn’t operate like a democratic party but like the terrorist gang it is, intimidating voters and murdering and torturing rivals to advance the interests of Tehran and Damascus.
By adding Hezbollah to its terror list, the EU could thus simultaneously strike a blow against international terrorism and for Arab democracy. It would not only undercut its fundraising but also its claims for respectability. The EU’s continued engagement with Hezbollah confers on the group undeserved international recognition, which helps it to sell its terror as “resistance” and its service to Tehran as legitimate Lebanese politics. By naming and shaming Hezbollah, the EU would help isolate it, diminishing its attraction both at home and abroad.
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah himself said a few years ago that such a move would “destroy” the organization as “[t]he sources of our funding will dry up and the sources of moral, political and material support will be destroyed.” Europe has the power and moral obligation to finally facilitate this destruction.
Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443866404577563151864043044.html
Mr. Schwammenthal is director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute in Brussels.


EU "Upgrades" Relations with Israel, Strangling Strings Attached

August 3, 2012

(gatestoneinstitute.org)The upgrade, which comes amid a barrage of unending criticism of Israel’s policies, in fact appears aimed at increasing Israel’s economic dependence on the European Union, with the objective of enhancing the bloc’s leverage over the State of Israel. Authored by EU delegations to the Palestinian Authority, the document includes severe recommendations meant to strengthen Palestinian control over East Jerusalem and coerce Israel to change its policy in the West Bank. The document is unprecedented in that it deals with internal Israeli issues.

The European Union has upgraded trade and diplomatic relations with Israel in more than 60 activities and fields, including agriculture, energy and immigration.
But the wide-ranging boost to bilateral relations, which was announced at the annual EU-Israel Association Council meeting in Brussels on July 24, is unlikely to end the deep-seated hostility European officialdom harbors towards the Jewish state.
The move, which comes amid an unending barrage of European criticism of Israeli policies in the West Bank, Gaza and within Israel itself, in fact appears aimed at increasing Israel’s economic dependence upon the European Union, with the objective of enhancing the bloc’s leverage over the State of Israel.
As a whole, the package stops short of the full upgrade in relations that was frozen after Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip in January 2009, but is highly significant nonetheless.
Among other measures, the European Union will remove obstacles impeding Israel’s access to European government-controlled markets and enhance Israel’s co-operation with nine key EU agencies, including the European Police Office (Europol), the EU’s Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
Notably absent from the package is the Agreement on Conformity, Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA), a trade agreement that seeks to eliminate technical barriers to trade in industrial products, with the objective of increasing European access to Israeli markets, and vice-versa.
Although the European Commission and the European Council approved the ACAA in March 2010, ratification of the agreement has been held up in the European Parliament due to lobbying by pro-Palestinian activist groups, who argue that the agreement will benefit Israeli companies that do business in the disputed, so-called Occupied Territories.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament (AFET) on June 7 recommended that the ACAA be ratified, but its fate will be determined by the Committee on International Trade (INTA), which is scheduled to vote on the measure on September 18, 2012.
In any event, the official EU statement announcing the upgrade in bilateral relations is also replete with condescending criticism of Israel, which the EU accuses of perpetrating a wide range of human rights abuses in the “occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)” and within Israel itself.
Among other items, the statement refers to Israel’s obligation to protect the rights of the Arab-Palestinian minority, stressing the “importance to address it as a core problem in its own right.” The document also condemns the “excessive recourse by Israel to administrative detention.”
The EU urges Israel “to refrain from actions which may…curtail the freedom of association and freedom of speech (of civil society)” and it calls on Israel to prosecute “settler extremists” for their “continuous violence and deliberate provocations against Palestinian civilians.”
The statement “stresses Israel’s obligations regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian population” and condemns “developments on the ground which threaten to make a two-state solution impossible, such as, inter alia, the marked acceleration of settlement construction, ongoing evictions of Palestinians and the demolition of their housing and infrastructure in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), including East Jerusalem, the worsening living conditions of the Palestinian population and serious limitations for the Palestinian Authority to promote the economic development of Palestinian communities, in particular in Area C.”
The EU is also “concerned about reports on a possible resumption of construction of the separation barrier because the EU considers that the separation barrier where built on occupied land is illegal under international law, constitutes an obstacle to peace and threatens to make a two-state solution impossible.”
The statement comes amid a wave of official EU criticism of Israel that is often one-sided, disproportionate and bordering on obsessive.
In July, for example, the European Parliament passed a highly biased resolution accusing Israel of literally dozens of offenses against the Palestinian population, Palestinian institutions and even Arab Bedouins. The statement criticizes Israel for “expansion of settlements and settler violence, planning restrictions and the consequent acute house shortage, house demolitions, evictions and displacements, confiscation of land, difficult access to natural resources, and the lack of basic social services and assistance…” The resolution even accuses Israel of “creating an institutional and leadership vacuum in the local Palestinian population.”
In June, EU “Foreign Minister” Catherine Ashton, who has a well-earned reputation for making statements that seek to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish state, criticized Israeli policies that “are illegal under international law and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.” Since assuming her post in December 2009, Ashton has never criticized Palestinian obstructionism and their setting impossible preconditions for entering genuine peace talks with Israel. (In March, Ashton famously equated the killing of three children at a Jewish school in France with “what is happening in Gaza.”)
In May, the EU’s 27 foreign ministers unanimously condemned “the ongoing evictions and house demolitions in East Jerusalem, changes to the residency status of Palestinians…the prevention of peaceful Palestinian cultural, economic, social or political activities…the worsening living conditions of the Palestinian population…of jeopardizing the major achievements of the Palestinian Authority in state-building…the continuous settler violence and deliberate provocations against Palestinian civilians…” But nowhere does the document call on the Palestinian Authority to recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state, a move that arguably more than any other would advance Palestinian aspirations for statehood.
In January 2012, the EU published a document called “The EU Heads of Mission Report on East Jerusalem” which makes an urgent plea for the EU to adopt a more “active and visible” implementation of its policy towards Israel and the peace process.
Authored by EU delegations to the Palestinian Authority, the document includes severe recommendations meant to strengthen Palestinian control over East Jerusalem and coerce Israel to change its policy in the West Bank.
The document recommends that the European Union fund Palestinian construction projects in Area C of the West Bank without Israel’s cooperation, undermining Israeli control. But under the Oslo Accords, Area C is under full Israeli civil and security control; it contains all of Israel’s West Bank settlements and a small Palestinian population. The EU document also states that Israel’s policies are undermining the prospect of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, and calls on Israel to support Palestinian construction across Area C and in East Jerusalem.
The report includes a radical proposal for “appropriate EU legislation to prevent/discourage financial transactions in support of settlement activity.” Under the proposal, the European Commission would use legislation to force European companies to stop doing business with companies involved in settlement construction and commercial activities.
Recommendations include the preparation of a “blacklist” of settlers considered violent in order to consider later the option of banning them from entering the European Union. The document also seeks to encourage more PA activity and representation in East Jerusalem.
The report advises senior EU figures visiting East Jerusalem to refrain from being escorted by official Israeli representatives or security personnel. In addition, the document encourages officials to instruct European tourism firms to refrain from supporting Israeli businesses located in East Jerusalem and to raise EU public awareness of Israeli products originating from the settlements or from East Jerusalem.
In December 2011, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz obtained a classified working paper produced by European embassies in Israel, which recommended that the European Union should consider Israel’s treatment of its Arab population a “core issue, not second tier to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
The document is unprecedented in that it deals with internal Israeli issues. According to European diplomats and senior Foreign Ministry officials quoted by Haaretz, the document was written and sent to EU headquarters in Brussels behind the back of the Israeli government.
Other issues the document deals with include “the lack of progress in the peace process, the continued occupation of the territories, Israel’s definition of itself as Jewish and democratic, and the influence of the Israeli Arab population.”
The original document also included suggestions for action the EU should take, but these were removed from the final version at the insistence of several countries. Among these were the suggestion that the EU file an official protest every time a bill discriminating against Arabs passes a second reading in the Knesset, and that the EU ensure that all Arab towns have completed urban plans, “with each member state potentially ‘adopting’ a municipality to this end.”
Haaretz reported that, according to a European diplomat involved in drafting the report, work on it began in 2010 at the initiative of Britain. The idea was to write a report that could be debated by a forum of EU foreign ministers. At some point, however, several countries, among them the Czech Republic, Poland and the Netherlands, expressed objections to its contents and the document was watered down.
Also in December, four EU members of the UN Security Council issued an angry joint statement branding Israeli “settlements” in Palestinian occupied territories and East Jerusalem as “illegal under international law.” The statement said: “We call on the Israeli government to reverse these steps. The viability of the Palestinian state that we want to see and the two-state solution that is essential for Israel’s long-term security are threatened by the systematic and deliberate expansion of settlements.”
While the EU continues to exert pressure on Israel, Jerusalem has been unable to extract meaningful concessions from Brussels. For example, the EU has once again rejected an Israeli request that the bloc designate the Lebanon-based Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman recently launched a new diplomatic push to convince the EU to outlaw Hezbollah following the murders of five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver on July 18. Israel blames Hezbollah for the suicide bombing at Bulgaria’s Burgas airport.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country currently heads the EU presidency, said there is “no consensus among the EU member states for putting Hezbollah on the terrorist list of the organization,” and claimed that there is “no tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism.”
Lieberman has also failed to persuade Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, to “intervene” on Israel’s behalf in a controversy regarding Tunisia’s desire to include a clause in its new constitution making normalized relations with Israel a criminal offense.
As these examples and many others indicate, Israel should be under no illusion that the recent “upgrading” of bilateral relations with the European Union will end European hostility toward the Jewish state. Quite to the contrary; Israel should be expecting an increase in European meddling in its internal affairs.

Soeren Kern is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.