The European Union announced last week its decision to classify the Israeli city of Modi’in (Pop. 80,000) as a “settlement” and thus deprive it of tax benefits. The Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported on August 14, 2012 that “[Israeli] Foreign Ministry officials claim that the surprise move came after the EU unilaterally pulled out of negotiations that have been conducted on the matter.” Israeli officials fear that the move will encourage a European ban on products made in Modi’in.
In 2005, Israel and the EU agreed to create a free trade zone between Israel and the EU. The agreement stipulated that products originating from within the Green Line would receive tax import exemptions while those products from outside the Green line would be subjected to a tax. Modi’in is, by all accounts, considered part of Israel, and the EU’s politicization of the nature of Modi’in is merely a result of political pressure coming from some EU member states, who under the guise of tighter supervision of products that should be taxed, are carrying out a pro-Arab-Palestinian agenda, which also satisfies their domestic Arab-Muslim constituents.
When it comes to the attitude of the European Union towards the Arab (Palestinian)-Israeli conflict one can discern a number of clear trends. Appeasement of Arab-Palestinian-Islamist terror and hate groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and Fatah, and their unwillingness to consider Islamic intolerance domestically within Europe and in the Islamic Middle East, especially among the Palestinians as a major factor in the absence of peace, is clearly one example. Latent anti-Semitism also plays a role in formulating European attitudes. A strong anti-Israel bias in the European media and academia already has penetrated many European Union institutions whose policies reflect a similar bias, albeit, some EU officials with strong democratic values, many representing right-of-center parties, are still sympathetic to Israel as a fellow democracy.
The EU, meanwhile, has refused Israel’s request to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist group in the aftermath of last month’s terror attack against Israeli civilians in Bulgaria that killed six Israeli tourists. The EU claimed it lacked tangible evidence that Hezbollah was involved in this horrific act of terrorism. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel knows “with absolute certainty, without a shred of doubt, that this was a Hezbollah operation,” citing it had “rock solid evidence” the terror group was responsible.
The British Mail-Online reported on August 7, 2011 that the Palestinian Authority is receiving the equivalent of $135 million of British taxpayer aid per year and, further reporting that the PA has authorized the payment of £5 million to families of “martyrs,“ while another £3 million has been given to 5500 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. These payments to terrorists and their families, made using European Union and British taxpayers cash, was described by a British Tory MP as “ludicrous.” According to Hamas militants, the families of the so-called ‘martyrs’ are given millions by the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the PA has in fact introduced a new law that pays the families of suicide bombers out of its civil service budget, which is funded by the EU.
According to Gatestone Institute (March 12, 2012), “The EU does not seem to mind that the PA is rife with corruption. In 2005, the EU anti-fraud office (OLAF) investigated allegations of abuse of funding by the PA to support terrorist activities. OLAF found no conclusive evidence of the abuse.”
Catherine Ashton, European Union Foreign Affairs Chief, when speaking about Palestinian Arab young adults at a forum organized by UNRWA in cooperation with the EU and the Government of Belgium in Brussels on March 19, 2012, said: “Young people have been in the front line of change, they’ve been courageous in having their voices heard and they continue to speak out. As the young people who have joined us today, they want freedom, they want opportunities, they want jobs, they want education, they want a future, and they want a country. They want a place where they can live in peace and security, where they can grow and develop, and have their own families, a future and a place that belongs to them. I will argue that the young people sitting here are the true members of this conference. We are privileged to be in their presence and have their inspiration. Over the coming two days we will listen to the voices of the future leaders of their communities and the future leaders of a Palestinian state.”
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