How the EU Is Undermining International Law in the West Bank

The 1995 agreement known as Oslo II divided the West Bank into three parts: Area A, to be administered directly by the Palestinian Authority (PA); Area B, to be administered jointly by the PA and Israel; and Area C, to be controlled directly by Israel pending further negotiations. In July, the European Union’s mission in eastern Jerusalem produced a document, recently leaked to the press, stating the EU’s commitment “to contribute to building a Palestinian State within 1967 borders,” and outlining a program to build Palestinian settlements in Area C even where not authorized to do so by Israeli law. Jenny Aharon writes:

The EU . . . insists that its positions are based on meticulous compliance with international law, its own laws and charter, and also the Oslo Accords. This claim is surely [belied] by the leaked document in which we can see an activist EU striving to help the Palestinians take over Area C, the very area that is designated to Israel’s control per the Oslo Accords preliminary agreement which the EU claims to uphold.

The claim [made by the EU] is that the construction is meant for humanitarian ends and is not politically motivated. Yet the EU construction takes place in locations that are highly sensitive, precisely for the purpose of creating new facts on the ground and preparing the area for a Palestinian takeover without any final peace agreement.

Oftentimes the political motivation [of EU-funded construction projects] is obvious, as it is conducted without permits and in such places where Israel has no choice but to demolish it—for example, a school adjacent to a dangerous highway or in places where there are no facilities and thus are not considered habitable environments. The political motivation becomes even more obvious as the document explicitly states the EU’s plan to curb Israel’s archeological activities in order to minimize the Jewish connection to the land.

Moreover, the EU does not seem to consider building in Area A and Area B where all they would need is a permit from the Palestinian Authority. Apparently, in those areas, there is no need for humanitarian aid at all.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: European Union, International Law, Oslo Accords, West Bank

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria