#Brexit Surely not, who would have thought? Former UK Trade Chief Claims Britain ‘Poorer’ Without EU Single Market

Former UK Trade Chief Claims Britain ‘Poorer’ Without EU Single Market

The UK’s former top international trade official, Sir Martin Donnelly, has warned that the EU’s single market remains the only possibility for his home country to be “able to deliver the guaranteed market access, shared regulation and consumer protection that Britain needs” after Brexit as “there is no credible free trade deal on offer” for London.

The former chief civil servant in the Department for International Trade, who left his post earlier this year, has written an article for the Guardian’s Observer, warning MPs that “leaving the EU’s legal structures will leave Britain more protected, more regulated and poorer.”

Sir Martin Donnelly has stressed that his county won’t get the same benefits it enjoys from the EU’s single market membership and therefore urged “MPs unsure about what form the final Brexit deal should take to buy themselves time by backing temporary membership of the European Economic Area,” which will “allow more time to see” if the country “can find a realistic alternative that meets its economic needs.”

READ MORE: You Banker! Goldman Sachs Boss Angers Brexiteers With Second Referendum Idea

“Please don’t throw away our hard-won competitiveness, our knowledge-based economy which attracts global talent and investment, and our successful services sector because of false promises that we can leave the single market and everything will be fine,” the former civil servant warns. “That is not what the facts tell us.”

His urge comes amid reports that a leaked European commission document suggests that after its exit from the European Union, the UK would be offered only “a basic free trade deal similar to that struck with Canada” and would not have any special conditions which would grant it access to the single European market, as was hotly anticipated by Theresa May’s government.

READ MORE: British PM Mulls Extra 20 Billion Pounds to EU as Part of Brexit Divorce Bill

In summer of 2016, Britain voted in favor of leaving the European Union and in March 2017, the country initiated the official withdrawal process, which is set to be completed by the end of March, 2019. Its talks with the EU however are currently deadlocked over three aspects: how much the UK owes the EU, what happens to the Northern Ireland border and what happens to UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens residing in Britain.

London wants to negotiate its future trade relations with the Union and its plan for a two year transition period to ensure the immediate post-Brexit period is as smooth as possible. Brussels however says it is not going to discuss the future until enough progress has been made on the above issues.

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Two More EU-Funded Palestinian Schools under Threat of Destruction by israeli Army

Source

A West Bank ‘school’ where children are studying in the open-air due to Israeli military restrictions. (Photo: File)

Two new Palestinian schools in the occupied West Bank, funded by European governments, are under threat of destruction and seizure, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). An Israeli court has already ordered students not to attend class in one of them, the NGO says.

Built over the last year with European funding, the schools in Wadi as-Seeq and Al Muntar serve Palestinian Bedouin communities who have long suffered neglect and discrimination at the hands of the Israeli occupation authorities.

Many of the families served by the schools have “already suffered destruction of their property over many years”, NRC states.

Now, the schools are the subject of Israeli court proceedings “that could lead to their destruction and seizure”, with hearings scheduled for 20 November and 10 December.

Abu Hassan, a parent and community representative, said that the children “do not have any other place to study in our community. This school allows our children to study without having to leave our community and use risky roads close to the nearby [Israeli] settlement”.

The NRC’s Information Counselling and Legal Aid Program is providing humanitarian legal assistance to represent the communities in court.

Once again, Palestinian children are facing the traumatic prospect of turning up for school and finding that it no longer exists

“Once again we have to ask: Why are children being denied their fundamental right to education? This attack on schools is part of a wider drive to forcibly transfer Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem to create space for illegal settlement expansion,” said NRC Country Director in Palestine Kate O’Rourke.

O’Rourke added that NRC and other NGOs are urging “the governments and donors funding Palestinian children’s education to increase diplomatic pressure to prevent the demolition and seizure of school infrastructure, which is in violation of International Humanitarian Law.”

Both donor-funded schools of Al Muntar and Wadi as-Seeq serve over 100 pupils, with the former expected to expand its intake in February 2018. The Wadi as-Seeq school community, meanwhile, “has received 11 stop-work orders for their structures in the last nine years”.

Two structures were demolished in 2012 and 2014, and all mobile latrines provided by a local NGO in 2011 were confiscated by Israeli occupation authorities.

20 European Officials Denied Entry to israel for Boycott Support #BDS

20 European Officials Denied Entry to Israel for Boycott Support

14 Nov  9:22 AM

Israel announced, on Monday, that it plans to deny entry to a European delegation, using the recently approved legislation which bars visits by anti-Israel boycott activists.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that the 20-member delegation, which was set to arrive in Israel next week, was to include European parliament members and French mayors.

According to Interior Minister Arye Dery and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the purpose of their visit was to meet with Marwan Barghouti at Hadarim Prison “as part of their support for Barghouti and Palestinian prisoners.”

Erdan added that these are “senior politicians who consistently support the boycott against Israel and promote it.” He added that “we will not permit entry to those who actively call to harm the state of Israel, especially in light of their request to meet and offer support to the arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti.”

According to Dery, the delegation consists of senior Europeans who are coming to act against Israel.

Over the past year, at the instruction of Dery and Erdan, Israel has blocked entry to a number people known to support the BDS movement.

Search IMEMC: “boycott”

11/12/17 Israel Mobilizing to Stop European Aid to Palestine

The Best Hope for Britain: National Emergency Labour Government

The Best Hope for Britain: National Emergency Labour Government

Make no mistake about it. As the former Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party Nick Clegg recently put it – the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland faces its greatest and gravest existential national emergency – since the days of the Second World War. Large swathes of the British people are burying their heads in the sand at the oncoming Brexit economic, social, civil, political and national constitutional unrest and upheaval. The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union of which it has been a member for the past forty three years is being handled in the worst possible way by the British Conservative minority Government of Theresa May supported [and thus propped up and kept alive] in a confidence and supply arrangement by the ten MPs of the Democratic Unionist Party whose votes in the Westminster House of Commons as a pivotal national and local political player was bought at a massive 1 Billion Pounds promised back in June of [as of October late still not one penny of 1 billion promised by May/DUP] new investment in Northern Ireland.

The remaking of Britain is not going terribly well and neither are the Conservative Party management of the UK-EU Exit negotiations. The Conservative Party has been in charge of Britain for the last seven and a half years. Critically it was the Tory Party, which gave the United Kingdom and the European Union along with the rest of the world the UK Referendum on continued British membership of the European Union. It has also been the Conservative Party that has been in charge of organizing and executing Britain’s departure from the EU, in essence implementing the decision of the British electorate who constituted 52 per cent of the voting population who voted to Leave the European Union on June 23rd 2016th. The Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron made the disastrous short term intra-Tory Party tactical decision to call the Referendum to appease his hard-line anti-European backbenches and Cabinet ministers in a Tory Party civil war raging since the days of Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges speech of October 1988, Mr. Cameron went on to write the ridiculous 2013 pledge into his 2015 General Election manifesto and it has been his successor as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Leader of the Tory Party who has been in charge of implementing the democratic mandate of the British people to Leave the EU pledging during her leadership election launch at the Royal United Services Institute to ensure ‘Brexit meant Brexit.’

This Mrs. Theresa May has made a complete hash of. The UK’s departure from the EU -14 months on and still in the EU with only roughly anywhere between 3 to 17 months left before definitely being kicked out of the EU in March 2019- has been a complete catastrophe of national humiliation under the arrogant ego maniac vain incompetence of Tory Prime Minister Theresa May. Her Conservative Party civil war over the European Question in British politics has effectively led to the trashing of some of Britain’s most important international relationships, alliances and partnerships. The time has come for some brave, wise, socially liberal and One Nation patriotic pro-European Tories, the Liberal Democrat Party, Irish Nationalists and Unionists, Scottish Nationalists and Unionists to join with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Parliamentary Party and form a Government of National Emergency to stop a Hard Brexit and usher in a Soft Brexit with the UK leaving the EU soon and under a good Deal and Favourable Terms.

A domestically Whiggish progressive socialist Labour Ministry led by a Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn and backed by One Nation Labour, Liberals, Conservatives and Unionists/Nationalists in the British House of Commons would be enough to overcome Theresa May’s Tory diehards and would work to ensuring the benefits of the Single Market and delivering a pro-jobs, pro-growth, pro-equality, pro-green, pro-UK Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister should invite One Nation pro-European Tory Ken Clarke to become European Chancellor in effect Brexit Secretary with a newly formed Ministry for Europe, a subsidiary of the Foreign Office. Ken Clarke can get negotiations back on track with a Labour Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn and a Labour Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry. New Labour Pro-Europeans should rest assured that Corbyn has effectively surrendered most of Labour European Brexit policy making to the pro-European Labour wing under the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer Home Secretary.

Mr. Corbyn should invite New Labour founder Lord Mandelson to become Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Board of Trade in charge of negotiating the United Kingdom’s major Free Trade Agreements post-Brexit in a Corbyn Ministry of National Emergency. For bringing over some pro-European Single Market Remain Scottish Tories a Prime Minister Corbyn should send Ruth Davidson to the House of Lords and appoint her First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Scotland working closely with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Johanna Cherry of the Scottish National Party should sit in Mr. Corbyn’s Cabinet as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Secretary of Defence Angus Brendan Macneil, Secretary of Culture, Media and Sport.

The Westminster Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Nigel Dodds MP should be offered the newly created post of Vice-Premier and Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Premier Corbyn should retain the services of John McDonnell as a soft-Brexit, anti-austerity, pro-market but socialist democratic Chancellor and Dianne Abbot should become President of the Labour Party replacing the old role of Chairman. Anna Soubry the former SDP now Tory MP for Nottingham should be offered the position of Secretary of State for Industry, Energy and Climate Change while either the cross-bench Peer Jim O’Neil or Labour’s Barry Gardiner or Lord Mandelson should be given a special brief as the dedicated Minister for China and deliver the best possible flourishing of UK-China relations.

A domestically and internationally Whiggish Labour Government of National Unity – with a dash of Marxism and progressive Scottish radicalism tempered by sensible non-ideological centrist Tory pragmatism and social democratic Lloyd George Liberalism finessed by a twist of Gladstonian Unionism and Irish nationalism leading to a new close British relationship and policy in Europe for a Euro-Asian Global Britain. The Irish unionists and nationalists in the form of the DUP and Sinn Fein should support such a British Government in the House of Commons at Westminster in order to restore devolved power-sharing government in Stormont and unlock the 1 Billion Pounds promised. Ironically it is Jeremy Corbyn who is the only potential British Prime Minister and British MP to be able to get the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement back up and running in Belfast between the two major local parties and preserve the gains made between Ireland and the UK and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Scottish nationalist and unionists should support a soft-Brexit Labour Government of National Unity to preserve Scotland’s benefits and access to the Single Market as will a Labour Government of National Unity for all of the United Kingdom engineered by a European Chancellor, the British Chancellor for Europe, Ken Clarke former Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer in John Major’s Government and Education Secretary and Health Secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s Government as well as serving as an MP in the House of Commons since 1970 and holding the role of Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice in the first Cameron Ministry. Instead of Ken Clarke acting as a go-between for Theresa May’s right-wing nationalistic, pro-austerity, Hard Brexit incompetent Tory minority Government he should be delivering Brexit as Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn and Britain’s Chancellor for Europe leading the Ministry of Europe in charge of crafting a Good Exit Deal and shaping a future new partnership for Britain and the European Union with the UK firmly embedded in Europe and the World.

In order to secure the firm support of Tory MPs in the House of Commons consisting of Cameron/Osborne Lieutenants and pro-European Remaining Conservatives, anti-Theresa May One Nation rebels and disgruntled Leavers Mr. Corbyn will have to make some compromises and concessions on domestic policy and politics by not banging on so much about identity politics, and new left liberal western extreme multiculturalism identity politics which could lose Labour votes among its working class loyalists in the North who voted Brexit and the more centrist New Labour Tories that Lord Mandelson thinks Mr. Corbyn can win over for a really big majority further down the line. He should bring back Sarah Champion to the Cabinet and also not talk so much about identity politics. He can continue to combat such intolerances and preach wise universal enlightened harmony but it should not be the loudest issue being spoken about domestically.

The focus must be on stopping a Hard Brexit and getting the Economy sorted out for better jobs, better standards of living and better lives for hard working people. A Labour Government of National Unity for National Emergency times led by Jeremy Corbyn must not indulge in the Hillary Clinton mode of identity politics a la 2016 but focus on economics and trade and living standards and anti-austerity in the Bernie Sanders jobs and quality of life mode. By doing this Corbyn can peel away with across the floor defections from the Tory Party of further MPs such as Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry, Grant Shapps, Ken Clarke, Sir Oliver Letwin, Theresa Villiers, some Scottish Ruth Davidson Tories as well as Notting Hill members Ed Vaizey, Dominic Grieve, Phillip Hammond, Rory Stewart and form a viable working majority in the House of Commons to deliver the UK’s departure from the EU and a new domestic and foreign policy for Britain.

Internationally such a Labour British Government led by a socialist Marxist Labour Party leader will never be supported by the United States and the Trump administration or for that matter a moderate Democrat administration. The Americans and the CIA simply will not have Jeremy Corbyn. Nor for that matter will some in the money markets and certain banks and speculators and governments could well try to crucify such a Labour Government financially. Hence new sources of financing and markets and consumers and investment and trade are crucial to plugging lost opportunities and augmenting existing financial credibility while insuring against lost American backing in the international money markets. Thus a good strong UK-China relationship could help soften Brexit and a more mature UK-Russia relationship can evolve but the price for Eastern backing and support will be a hard headed realist reappraisal of UK-US relations. The Continental Europeans do want to do a deal but just not with Theresa May or the British Tory Party. They can do a sensible deal with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. If Jeremy Corbyn stops British interference in the Middle East wars and failed policies of Bush and Blair and stands up to Trump while maintaining a good relationship with Beijing and Moscow and the EU27 then his international stock despite cooling the UK-US relationship will actually rise both internationally and domestically as well as throughout European capitals. That is what a Jeremy Corbyn Labour Government could do for Britain

America First? What is Behind Washington’s ‘Economic War’ Against Europe

Source

Former French President Francois Hollande has berated Donald Trump for pursuing protectionist policies. Speaking to Sputnik, French analysts said that the US often used “hidden protectionism” even before Trump was elected and that EU countries are just starting to determine strategies for resisting competition from American multinationals.

Marc German, a specialist in competitive intelligence and enterprise diplomacy, told Sputnik France that Trump “loudly declares the protectionism of the American economy.”

“But his battle cry, which boils down to the slogan ‘America first’, is in fact an unwritten preamble to the American Constitution. And we have been seeing this for two centuries already!” German added.

He was echoed by Lawyer Olivier Piton, who said that “the United States has always professed protectionism, albeit in a hidden form.”He recalled that “even Barack Obama found a way to save the American automotive industry” during his tenure. At the time, it was reported that it was clearly protectionist measures, and no one made any special hype about this, according to Piton.

“Americans have always believed that they should defend their sovereignty in a number of areas. That is, this phenomenon is not new because Americans have always acted like this,” he said.

 According to Piton, the traditional American use of hidden protectionism in trade policy-making comes amid “the review of multilateral agreements.”
In other words, he added, there is a return to the narrow national vision of trade relations, at least from the American point of view.

German, for his part, recalled that a whole array of enterprises and large corporations in Europe had already started to merge in order to contain competition from American companies.

“In the economic war which has been waged for many decades between the United States, which seeks unipolarity, and the rest of the world, there are movements that resist the Americans,” German said.

Urging Europe to finally “wake up”, German quoted former French President Francois Mitterrand as saying that France is in a “deadly” war with America, which he claimed wants unlimited power in the global arena.Earlier, the French business newspaper Les Echos cited a spate of  strategic industries in which President Trump is ready to abandon market principles to protect his country’ national economy. These include industries related to the production of steel, aluminum, cars, aircraft, ships and semiconductors.

Catalonians need to be careful, there’s an evil divisive force behind their quest for independence

Catalonia The Newest European Kosher State?

Catalonia’s ruling coalition has vowed to declare independence “immediately” if a majority of voters back it in an October referendum.Secessionists in the north-east region have long argued that it should break away from Spain. Catalonia is one of Spain’s richest regions, both culturally and industrially. It also boasts its own distinct languageCatalan – and centuries-old customs.

Until recently, there was little support for full independence – but Spain’s painful economic crunch has prompted an upswing. BBC

The Government of Catalonia]or Generalitat de Catalunya is the institution under which the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain is politically organised. It consists of the Parliament of Catalonia, the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Government of Catalonia.

It was controlled in the 70s 80s 90’s till 2003  by Jordi Pujol

Here’s his Speech at the Knesset Jerusalem, October 28, 2003

I come from a family at first rather sympathetic with the Jews, but not especially interested. However, there was something that increased, by reaction, the pro-Jewish attitude, and was that the Franco regime was anti-Jewish. And oddly enough, he mixed Judaism with Catalanism. In times of great Francoist exaltation and xenophobia of Spain, we were accused of being the Jews of Spain But as I said, I did not come into contact with Judaism alone. Also, and in a certain sense above all with Zionism. And not in a superficial way. At only 17-18 years old I read Herzl’s “Der Judenstaat” and a very comprehensive book by Chaïm Weizmann, which tells the whole Zionist struggle…………

His successor was Artur Mas He believes that  Israel is a strategic country for Catalonia and we want to continue strengthening our cooperation”

The President of President of the Generalitat of Catalonia is Carles Piugdemont

 

Carles Puigdemont, left, president of the autonomous region of Catalonia and former mayor of Girona, thanks Jewish Russian Billionaire Shimon Aminov, center. Looking on, from left, are: vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky; Rabbi Berel Lazar of Russia and Rabbi Dovid Liebersohn of Barcelona.

His Media advisor a guy called Aleix Clarió tweets saying that 32 percent of Spanish exports are to Israel and 79% of Israeli investment is to Catalonia

The Catalonian Jews seem ready to jump the Spanish ship and join the Catalonian independence crowd Five Catalan cities have decided to leave Spain’s network of Jewish quarters, an organisation dedicated to preserving and promoting medieval urban Jewish neighbourhoods.Marta Madrenas, the mayor of Girona, which is one of the cities leaving the network, told the New York Times that she and her allies would create a new network because “we think we can do better in terms of showcasing our Jewish patrimony.” Source European Jewish Council website

The official Catalonian Govt website says QUOTE From the Catalan Government Trade & Investment office in Tel-Aviv, you get tailormade information and full support for a smooth, fast and successful set-up of operations in Catalonia from start to finish. We also offer personalised assistance to Catalan companies wishing to open in Israeli markets and find new global business opportunities.ENDQUOTE  Source

The joker in the pack is a 59 year old named Alfons Lopez Tena

In 2012 Catalan leader predicts independence in about two years, and close friendship with Israel 

In 2015 he had completely changed his mind Catalonia’s independence quest ‘wishful thinking’,

 

“Israel sought independence, and gained it. It revived its language and has for 65 years dealt with the hostility of the nations surrounding it. That explains our support of Israel and the Jewish people. On a personal level, I define myself as being pro-Israel and pro-Zionist.  These are views I inherited, in my family.I well remember the concern that filled our house at the time of the Six Day War. I was a boy at the time, 10 years old, and we all prayed for Israel’s survival.”

Sounds crypto enough to me or as the Spanish put it a Marrano

Marrano Tena has in the same article by Haretz been described as one of the main leaders of the separatist movement when in truth his party has just 4 out of 135 seats in the Catalan Assembly

For some wierd reason crypto Tena has taken to criticizing Modi on twitter and repeatedly mentioning he fought Franco Maybe his PR people told him thats the easiest way to increase his “international image” Four seat backed Tena could suddenly be projected as the great Catalonian Anti Facist Freedom Fighter

We all know how the Jewish Media can make or break someone’s “image” these days

Come October after the probably Yes vote expect a surge of Rohingya like sympathy for the Catalan nation

Breaking Spain up Sweet revenge for the Alhambra Decree ???

israel is pushing its luck with the EU

Source

When it comes to the various stakeholders in the Israeli Palestinian conflict Israel has guaranteed American support in almost whatever it does. Other stakeholders, including the EU, have consistently criticised Israeli government policy but consistently failed to back it up with any action. That is, possibly, until now.

The Obama administration was castigated by the pro-Israel lobby for its supposed lack of support for Israel despite granting it a 10-year $38 billion military aid package, the likes of which no other state could dream to secure. In fact, over half the aid the US hands to other states goes to Israel.

Obama missed a trick on not making the aid package conditional upon any progress in the talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, or a halt to settlement construction, which the US sees as “illegitimate”. Neither Netanyahu’s brazen snub to Obama when he addressed the US Congress without coordination with the White House, nor the humiliation of American Vice President Biden – who while on a visit to Jerusalem in 2010 was met with an announcement that Israel planned to build 1,600 home for Jewish Israelis in units in the illegal settlement of Ramat Shlomo which is attached to Jerusalem – was enough to trigger such conditioning.

The US is a member of the Middle East Quartet now renamed the ‘Office of the Quartet,’ which brings the EU, Russia and the United Nations together. It describes its mandate as “to help mediate Middle East peace negotiations and to support Palestinian economic development and institution-building in preparation for eventual statehood”. The Quartet’s last key report was published in 2016. The report focussed on violence and incitement, Gaza and Palestinian governance and settlement expansion, land designations, and denial of Palestinian development.

In the area designated C under the Oslo Accords, Israel maintains full control over both security and planning. The denial of Palestinian development is enacted mostly through the denial of permits for building construction. The Quartet noted that “only one permit for Palestinian housing construction in Area C was reportedly approved in 2014, and there do not appear to have been any in 2015. In the five-year period from 2009 to 2013, only 34 building permits were approved for Palestinians in Area C, out of at least 2,000 submissions”.

The report further noted that there were over 11,000 demolition orders pending against Palestinian structures, three quarters of which are on private Palestinian land. The report acknowledged that “as Palestinians are consistently denied permits to build legally, they are left with few options but to build without permits”.

There was a significant increase in the number of Palestinian structures demolished across the West Bank in the first four months of 2016, with some 500 demolitions of Palestinian structures by the Israeli authorities and nearly 800 Palestinians displaced, more than what was carried out throughout the entire year of 2015. Although many of these were not dwellings, the loss of structures such as water wells, solar panels, and animal shelters has impacted the livelihoods of over 2,500 people in the first half of 2016. The trend continued in 2017 and to this day.

Israeli security forces gather around as a Palestinian home is being demolished in Jerusalem on 14 March 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Israel makes no distinction between structures it considers to be illegal that are funded by Palestinians and those that are funded by non-Palestinians, those built without planning permission or those agreed upon in bilateral agreements with the Palestinians.

Gaza’s International Airport, which opened in 1998, was destroyed by Israel in 2001. It was built with funding from Japan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Germany. To this day the airport remains in ruins and no sanctions were ever taken against Israel by either Germany or Spain.

In January of this year Israeli forces demolished some 15 structures in Khirbet, including homes and the only school in the small hamlet, which is located on the outskirts of the village of Beit Furik in the Jordan Valley in the north-eastern occupied West Bank.

In July the Dutch government lodged a protest with Israel over the confiscation of electricity equipment, which was said to be a hybrid power system of both diesel and solar power. The electrification project in the southern Bethlehem region was donated by the Dutch government and cost about 500,000 euros ($590,806), 350,000 euros ($413,564) of which went to Jubbet Al-Dhib, according to the report in the Israeli daily Haaretz. The Dutch Foreign Ministry requested Israel return the equipment and is “currently assessing what next steps can be taken,” the ministry’s statement to Haaretz said.

In August Israeli troops dismantled a structure built for a nursery for 25 Palestinian children in the village of Jabal Al-Baba near Jerusalem claiming it was built without a permit. This followed the demolition a few days earlier of a small primary school in the southern West Bank and the removal of solar panels used to power another school. This drew criticism from the EU which expressed “strong concern about the recent confiscations of Palestinian school structures undertaken by Israel in Bedouin communities in the occupied West Bank,” adding that “every child has the right to safe access to education and states have an obligation to protect, respect and fulfil this right, by ensuring that schools are inviolable safe spaces for children”.

But has Israel pushed its luck too far with the EU?

Despite Israel’s destruction of facilities funded by the EU, history shows it has protested to Israel but has not taken action. However, this could be about to change.

Reports have emerged that eight EU countries, led by Belgium, have drafted a letter to be delivered to senior Foreign Ministry officials demanding compensation amounting to €30,000 ($35,456) for confiscating and demolishing structures and infrastructure built by them in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control. This follows Israel’s refusal to return the confiscated equipment as demanded by the eight countries which are members of the ‘West Bank Protection Consortium,’ a body through which they coordinate humanitarian assistance to Area C.

The letter stresses that “the demolition and seizure of humanitarian equipment, including school infrastructure, and the interference in the transfer of humanitarian assistance contravenes Israel’s obligations under international law and causes suffering to the Palestinian residents”.

However, Israel claims that European activity in Area C is not humanitarian assistance but “illegal development that is being done without coordinating with Israel and with the aim of strengthening the Palestinians’ hold on Area C”. This claim was previously made in 2015 by Benjamin Netanyahu who ordered the demolition of some 400 Palestinian structures built in the West Bank with European funding.

While the international community has often talked the talk about Israeli crimes, this is a rare example of action that could at least make Israel think twice before acting. While this is a small step by eight EU countries it could mark a significant and necessary change in policy from condemnation of Israeli policies to tangible action. EU citizens should be outraged that contributions from their taxes to alleviate Palestinian suffering and build peace, are being wasted by Israel while goods from illegals settlements continue to make their way to EU supermarket shelves.

If the EU is serious about peace and its support for a two-state solution then it can use existing instruments to exercise its influence. This includes suspending the EU-Israel Association Agreement for Israel’s failure to adhere to a clause which states that “relations between the parties, as well as all the provisions of the agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles”.

Israel’s clear failure to respect Palestinian human rights should finally trigger a suspension of this agreement.

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