European Parliament on Security situation in the Middle East

The European Parliament Committee on Security and Defencewill discuss the Security situation in the Middle East next Monday 25th September.

An exchange of views on the situation in the Middle East with a focus on US-Israel relations and perspectives is scheduled in the presence of experts including: 

  • Mr Marco Morettini, Deputy Head of Division for Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Regional Policies, EEAS (European External Action Service)
  • Mr Reuel Marc Gerecht, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, U.S.
  • Mr Yossi Kuperwasser, Senior Fellow, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, former Director General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, Israel

 The debate will emphasize the need for a common strategy between the EU, US and Israel to implement talks on the peace process and setting up a common position for the security and stability of the Middle East.

HERE you can follow the live broadcast of the event from 3.00 P.M.

Senior Israel and EU officials meet in Jerusalem on counter-terrorism

Israel and the European Union senior officials held this week their 2nd counter-terrorism dialogue at the Israeli foreign ministry in Jerusalem. They discussed challenges in the field of counter-terrorism in Israel and Europe.

The Israeli delegation was led by the Head of Division for Strategic Affairs at the foreign ministry and the Head of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau at the National Security Council.

The EU delegation was headed by Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Pedro Serrano and the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove.

The delegations included representatives of different agencies that deal with counter-terrorism from a wide range of perspectives such as defense, legislation, intelligence and law enforcement.

Israel considers itself as a key player in efforts to stem a rising tide of Islamic terrorism.

During a recent visit to the Netherlands, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said : “Europe as a whole is undergoing changes. It faces very great challenges over the spread of radical Islamic terrorism.’’

He discussed Israel’s “central role” as the “most stable and most stabilizing element in the Middle East,” one that contributes greatly to preventing the spread of terrorism.’’

On the EU Agenda

EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Federica Mogherini will adress the European Parliament on Wednesday 6th of July. She will be presenting the European External Action Service’ Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy. The document , published in June 2016 underlined EU support for a two-state solution.

Then, she will outline the new initiatives adopted by the Quartet regarding the Middle East Peace Process. 

The Quartet denounced the use of violence of the Palestinians, and the constant incitement against Israelis. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was reportedly furious about the Quartet conclusions.


Follow HR Mogherini speech here at 15:00 on Wednesday in the following link :— 

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Visit of Ben-Gurion MA and PHD Students

On Wednesday 29th of June, EIPA hosted a group of 20 students from Ben Gurion University, Israel. 

After meeting Foreign Affairs’ Chairman Elmar Brok, EIPA introduced them to MEP Tamas Meszerics, coordinator of the Foreign Affairs committee for the Greens. He briefed them on his work at the European Parliament and restated that the Parliament believed that the only solution is a two state solution.

Over lunch, Alex Benjamin, EIPA Director explained EIPA’s work in the European institutions, before joining the group for a meeting with Raul Fuentes Milani, Head of Unit Middle East, Israel and Palestine at the EEAS.

We are always glad to show students from Israel and Europe the reality of EU-Israel relationship. 

EU is shamefully ignoring number one Israeli concern: Security

Europe’s media are rightly focussed on the despicable Islamist stabbing attack in Munich this morning that has left one dead and three injured.

So most Europeans will have undoubtedly missed that in Jerusalem, also this morning, two 80 year old women were stabbed in the back whilst out for a morning stroll by Palestinian assailants who fled the scene and went back to East Jerusalem.

Two 80 year old women. Probably grandmothers. About as much threat to anyone as a feather duster.

Shlomi Tedegi, a medic, described the scene of the attack: “In an area adjacent to the promenade we saw two approximately 80-year-old elderly women lying in the dirt. They were fully conscious and suffering from stab wounds, one in the extremities and her upper body and the second in her upper body.”

Meanwhile in Gaza, the Israeli defence forces keep uncovering fresh terror tunnels, and large amounts of chemicals used to propel rockets.

Starting tonight, Israel marks Yom HaZikaron, the remembrance day for all the soldiers who have fallen in defence of the country, from 1948, 1967, 1973, two Lebanon wars and all the attacks and skirmishes in between, as well as remembering the 23,447     Israeli citizens murdered to date by terrorists. It is rare to meet a single Israeli whose family circle or whose friends haven’t been touched someway by terrorism, or a loss of a loved one on active duty. This remembrance day is not harking back to a bygone age, it reflects every day reality and the price that Israel pays for simply existing. The numbers go up every year.

The number one overarching concern for Israeli citizens, wherever they are, is security. They want the freedom that most of us enjoy in Europe, despite the recent terror attacks: to live a life without concern that you may be stabbed, blown up on a bus, your house hit by a rocket or just randomly targeted to be shot whether you are a boy, girl, man, woman, pensioner, whatever.

Events in Munich, and the threat of Munich – and much worse besides – is the daily reality for Israeli citizens.

And sadly, shamefully, it is being massively overlooked by the EU. Who prefer to hold debates about settlements, and later today in Strasbourg about demolitions of illegal Palestinian buildings in Area C.

Tonight’s debate in the European Parliament, where EEAS Chief Federica Mogherini will speak too, is symptomatic of this myopia and, to be brutally honest, total lack of regard for Israeli security.

There is a simple and perhaps inconvenient truth that the EU must digest: The Palestinian population is currently completely unprepared for peace. They are fed from birth with a steady and unrelenting diatribe of hatred for Jews and Israelis.  They are incited to stab, murder and maim. Most cannot even countenance the existence of the State of Israel. As one Israeli academic and thinker once noted “Even if we were to move all of Israel into a small apartment in Tel Aviv, it would be too much for them”.

Taking all of the above into consideration and in the absence of any concerted EU effort to tackle this ongoing and daily incitement, this raw and unbridled hatred that saw two stabbed 80 year olds lying in the dirt; we would respectfully ask any European citizen if they would want unchecked and illegal construction of homes by people who seek their and their family’s destruction within rocket reach of their own homes, cities, villages or hamlets?

We think the answer would be a resounding no.

So why must it be imposed on Israeli citizens? Something for all of us to think about as MEPs and Mrs Mogherini gather this evening to discuss demolitions of illegal buildings that they support through EU taxpayer funded programmes.


This Article was written by our executive director , Alex Benjamin and was published on The Times of Israel

Local EU Statement on Yom HaShoah

The European Union Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Israel The EU Delegation to the State of Israel, together with all Embassies of EU Member States in Israel, joins people in Israel

commemorating today the deaths of six million Jews – innocent men, women and children, murdered simply for being Jewish. Remembering the Shoah means for us recalling our joint responsibility for the future, continuing to stand strong against antiSemitism, prejudice and racial discrimination in all their forms. It is our duty to fight against anti-Semitism on every front. We cannot and will not accept that Jewish communities in Europe do not feel safe. Attacks on Jews are attacks on all of us – against our way of living, against tolerance and against our identity. The European Union was built on the foundations of our values of democracy, human dignity and fundamental rights. We are determined to defend these values against hate, violence and fanaticism. Never forget. Never again.


The statement was published on 4 May 2016 on the EEAS website

Safeguarding the Peace Process Can the EU Be an “Honest Broker”?

After a difficult end to 2015 in the EU-Israel relationship due to the labelling guidelines, EIPA kicked off 2016 with a hugely successful standing room only event in the European Parliament entitled “Safeguarding the Peace Process: can the EU be an honest broker?”

Hosted by European Parliament Vice-President Pascu and Lars Adaktusson MEP, the cross party event heard from distinguished Israeli and EU speakers on the subject of Palestinian incitement, conditioning EU aid on a rejection of Incitement to violence and lastly on the EU’s role in the Peace Process. 

Special update: EU labelling guidelines

EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, left, speaks during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before holding a bilateral meeting in the Prime Minister's Jerusalem offices, Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Jim Hollander, Pool)

As you will be aware, and after much fanfare, the EU published its guidelines on labelling of products in the West Bank and Golan Heights.

Here at EIPA we think that in the midst of a continuing wave of indiscriminate terror attacks against Israel’s civilian population, the decision to publish these guidelines makes zero political sense from a set of EU institutions that want to be seen as an honest broker in the Peace Process.

The EU’s Foreign Policy Chief can try and dress this move up as consumer protection, a technical trade detail or as a non-binding set of guidelines, but to the vast majority of Israelis it will be viewed very simply: as a slap in the face and an overt political move to punish Israel.

What is worse is that EU labelling of settlement products gives credence to the Mahmoud Abbas narrative that the stabbing attacks and car-rammings are somehow linked to settlements.

This lack of balance and a feeling of Israel getting the stick while the Palestinian authority gets the carrot has already had grave consequences for the EU- Israel relationship. This relationship is very important and we at EIPA are concerned at the needless deterioration of it.

As we write, Israel and the EU are engaged in a game of tit for tat. In retaliation at the publication of the EU guidelines – which in short will see an EU refusal to recognise products from the West Bank and the Golan Heights as “product of Israel”, instead they must say “product of West bank (Israeli settlement)” – Israel has done the following. 

  • President Rivlin has cancelled his planned visit to the EU in Brussels on December
  • The EU envoy to Israel was summoned to the MFA and was reprimanded
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has suspended dialogue with the EU on a number of fronts
  • Deputy Foreign Minister Hotoveli said the MFA will suspend all peace negotiations with the EU
  • Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked said she will examine taking legal steps against the EU
  • Minister Uri Ariel has returned his European made Citroen and is now driving a Japanese car

The question has to be asked: Was a move on labelling even necessary? What ends does it serve from an EU perspective other than souring the political milk with one side in the peace process?

EIPA will be working hard to convince the various Foreign ministries around Europe that this move should absolutely not be implemented if European capitals want to enjoy a balanced and harmonious relationship with the state of Israel.

The actions of the EU are an ample example of how not to behave diplomatically and politically. This damage will take time and effort to repair. EIPA are committed to facilitate this much needed rapprochement in the weeks ahead.

To read the Guidelines click here

Mogherini ‘glad to hear’ Netanyhu’s commitment to two states

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini speak to the media on May 20, 2015. (AFP/POOL/DAN BALILTY)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini speak to the media on May 20, 2015.

“I am glad to hear his commitment to two states. EU ready to help,” EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini tweeted Wednesday night after a meeting with Israeli  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu publicly pledged his support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in his first clear policy statement on the issue since his new government was formed last week.

“I don’t support a one state solution – I don’t believe that’s a solution at all,” Netanyahu said as he met with Mogherini who is on a two-day visit.

“I support the vision of two states for two peoples – a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state, and I look forward to discussing with you how we can advance that vision forth in a practical, secure and responsible way,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu assured Mogherini that he was committed to resolving the conflict.

“Israel wants peace. I want peace. We want a peace that would end the conflict once and for all. My position has not changed,” Netanyahu said. He added that Israel has taken tangible steps to make life easier for the Palestinians.

“We’ve taken economic steps, added measures for reconstruction and development and ensuring ongoing humanitarian support. We’ll continue with those practical steps,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister added that “if I look around at our region and the world, the most dangerous enemy of peace is Iran.” ” Iran is arming and training Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, and Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Iran is opening a third terror front against Israel in the Golan and it is pursuing its nuclear program, which I believe poses the greatest threat to the region and to the world.”

He stressed that the Lausanne program ”will not block Iran’s path to the bomb.” “Iran’s emerging deal with the world powers facilitates and legitimizes Iran’s continued development of the capabilities of forming nuclear weapons. And by prematurely easing sanctions, the deal will give Iran many billions of dollars with which to fund its aggression and its worldwide terror campaign.”

Prior to her arrival in the region, Mogherini said that the EU wanted to play a major role in relaunching the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians “on the basis of the two-state solution.”

“The EU is interested in peace and security for Israel and for the region because this is also our European peace and security.”

Earlier in Ramallah, where she met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Mogherini spoke against the status quo and said that it was a European, Palestinian and Israeli interest “to move forward, because there is no status quo.”

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzi Hotovely, who also met with Mogherini in Jerusalem, told the EU top diplomat that for the peace process to resume, the Palestinians need to return to the negotiating table and must halt their unilateral steps against Israel in the international arena.

Referring to the Jerusalem terror attack earlier in the day in which two Border Police Officers were hurt by a Palestinian terrorists who tried to run them down, Hotovely said that Europe should strongly condemn terrorism, as well as back Israel’s demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people.

Hotovely welcomed Mogherini comment that she was interested in coming now after the establishment of the new Israeli government to listen to both sides, saying that her visit at the time had a “great deal of importance.”

Mogherini is scheduled to meet the leader of the Opposition Zionist Union Isaac Herzog and President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday, before she returns to Brussels.


By Yossi Lempkowicz, Senior Media Advisor at Europe Israel Press Association.