Is the EU embracing BDS?

This essay was written by Hadar Sela for The Propagandist and was originally titled, “Et Tu Europe?”.  Sela is also the author of Anti-Zionist and Anti-Semitic Discourse on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website, published last year by the MERIA Journal.

A recent document drawn up by the EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah raises some worrying issues, not least the proposal for organised boycotts. Readers will doubtless notice the report’s reliance upon information gleaned from politically motivated NGOs such as UN OCHA and ACRI, which set the tone for the cavalier repetition of numerous untruths such as;

“Successive Israeli governments have pursued a policy of transferringJewish population into the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law.” (my emphasis)

It is also blatantly apparent that despite the fact that the status of Jerusalem is supposed to be the subject of long-awaited negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the EU Heads of mission seem intent upon creating their own ‘facts on the ground’, together with a flawed narrative which seeks to over-ride any negotiation process.

However, the report’s ‘action plan’ is possibly its most disturbing aspect in that it includes outright initiatives for boycott of Israeli businesses and institutions as well as specific calls for intervention in the affairs of the host state.

East Jerusalem as the future Palestinian capital

1. In conformity with the objectives of the StrategicMulti-sector Development Plan for East Jerusalem, promote a coordinated approach and a coherentPalestinian strategy towards East Jerusalem.

2. Promote the establishment of a PLO focal point/representative in East Jerusalem.

3. National Europe Day events held in East Jerusalem (when suitable at Palestinian institutions)

4.  EU missions with offices or residences in East Jerusalem to regularly host Palestinian officials with senior EU visitors.

5) Avoid having Israeli security and/or protocolaccompanying high rankingofficials from Member Stateswhen visiting the Old City/EastJerusalem.

6.  Prevent/discouragefinancial transactions from EU MS actors supporting settlement activity in East Jerusalem, by adopting appropriate EU legislation.

7.  Compile non-binding guidelines for EU tour operators to prevent support for settlement business in East Jerusalem – e.g. hotels, bus operators, archaeological sites controlled by pro-settler organisations etc.

8.   Ensure that the EU-Israel Association Agreement is not used to allow the export to the EU of products manufactured in settlements in East Jerusalem.

9.   Raise public awareness about settlement products, for instance by providing guidance on origin labelling for settlement products to major EU retailers.

10. Inform EU citizens of financial risks involved in purchasing property in occupied East Jerusalem.

Strengthen the role of the European Union

1.  Enhance local coordination between Quartet actors for input into policy making and decisions.

2.   Ensure EU presence when there is a risk of demolitions or evictions of Palestinian families.

3.   Ensure EU presence at Israeli courts cases on house demolitions or evictions of Palestinian families.

4.  Ensure EU intervention when Palestinians are arrested or intimidated by Israeli authorities for peaceful cultural, social or political activities in East Jerusalem.

5.  Operationalise the EU policy on bringing high level visitors to sensitive sites (e.g. separation barrier etc). – on logistics for high level visitors (e.g choice of hotel, change of transport East/West) – on contacts with the Jerusalem Mayor and on refraining from meeting Israeli officials in  their East Jerusalem offices (e.g. in the Israeli Ministry of Justice etc) – on information sharing on violent settlers in East Jerusalem to assess whether to grant entry into the EU.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

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