New Directions in Saudi Arabia & the Middle East

Exchange of views on “New Directions in Saudi Arabia & the Middle East”with Mr. Abdulrahman al-Rashed on 10 October at 17:00 – 18:30 in room ASP A1H1 at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Veteran Saudi media figure Abdulrahman al-Rashed is one of the best informed voices on his native land and a trusted voice throughout the region. In a dynamic discussion with the audience, al-Rashed will explore Saudi reformists’ struggle to revamp the economy, counter extremism, and overcome sectarian animosities within their borders and beyond. Amid Iranian expansionism, trans-state militias, and new hopes for the Arab-Israeli peace, this timely event will add richness and nuance to debates on EU and Middle East foreign policy. 

Organised by: MEP Anders Vistisen (ECR), First Vice-Chair AFET Committee

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.

European Secretariat cuts funding to radical NGO

Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Netherlands cease funding of NGO that inaugurated PA girls center named for notorious terrorist.

On August 21, 2017, the Swiss Government confirmed that the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (the Secretariat) – a joint funding mechanism of the governments of Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands – is suspending funding to the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee(WATC). SonntagsZeitung, the Swiss weekly which broke the story, has noted that the countries are launching an investigation into funding to the organization. WATC received $530,000 in core funding from 2014-2016.

The decision follows WATC’s role in inaugurating a women’s center in named after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who murdered 38 Israeli civilians in a 1978 terror attack. Denmark subsequently demanded WATC return Danish funds and froze funding to the Secretariat, pending review. The Netherlands also suspended cooperation with WATC until further notice.

The decision to halt Secretariat funding comes on the heels of a Swiss June 2017 resolution, passed by the Swiss Council of States, which directs the government to “amend the laws, ordinances and regulations” to prevent funding to NGOs “involved in racist, antisemitic or hate incitement actions.”

“We commend the Secretariat’s decision to review its funding to WATC,” stated Olga Deutsch, Director of NGO Monitor’s Europe Desk. Deutsch continued, “NGO Monitor has documented extensive Secretariat funding to groups that promote extremism and radicalization, including to WATC.”

NGO Monitor notes that the Secretariat is a primary funder of NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Secretariat supports over 40 Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, including groups that have glorified terrorism, have alleged links to EU-designated terror groups, promote anti-Semitism, and/or are active in anti-peace BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) and lawfare campaigns against Israel.

Deutsch added, “The Secretariat’s review of funding to WATC marks a dramatic and positive change in European policy. We note a greater awareness of the necessity to scrutinize and evaluate the activities of grantees, and hope to see a thorough review of other organizations as well.”

The article was published on Arutz 7

After Syria Chemical Attack, Israeli-Arab Journalist Asks Arab Leaders: Where Are You, Traitors?

‘Where is the Arab leadership? Where are you, traitors? Have you forgotten your own people?’
Israeli-Arab journalist Lucy Aharish interrupted her nightly newscast on Israel’s Channel 2 to address the chemical attack in Syria. The first Arab to host the nightly news in Israel spoke in English as she ripped into the world’s Arab leaders, calling them “traitors.”

“The images that struck us yesterday are not fake news, but old news,” Aharish said addressing the images of dozens of Syrians murdered by a chemical attack that world leaders have blamed on Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“Where is the Arab leadership? Where are you, traitors? Have you forgotten your own people?” Aharish continued.

“A week ago the Arab League held a summit meeting, they sat their with suits and ties, they spoke about peace, about negotiations, prosperity, about the fight against terror.”
“Their blood is screaming in Arabic,” she insisted.

This was not the first time Aharish spoke in English to address atrocities in Syria. On December 15, 2017, Aharash denounced the seige on Aleppo as a holocaust.

“Right now, in Halab, Syria, just an eight-hour drive from Tel Aviv, a genocide is taking place,” said Aharish, using the Arabic name for Aleppo. “You know what? Let me be more accurate: It is a holocaust. Yes, a holocaust.

To watch the video see the piece in Haaretz

Foreign Ministers Discussing Middle East Peace Process

Today 28 Ministers of Foreign Affairs, meeting under the framework of the Foreign Affairs Council in Bruxelles, will be discussing the recent developments in the Middle East Peace Process. Following the Paris Peace Conference as well as the US Secretary of State Peace Principles, the statement today is expected to re-state EU’s position on Israeli settlements as well as to address the latest challenges to the peace process.  

For updates on the EU common position, click HERE

The triumph of European pragmatism in the Middle East


The European Parliament will vote this coming Wednesday on the report concerning the EU’s strategy after Iran’s nuclear agreement. MEP Richard Howitt’s report passed through its first reading in the Foreign Affairs committee on the 6th of October 2016 with 38 votes for, 15 against, following consultations with the Trade Committee on the 14th of July 2016.

The resolution is steeped in European “pragmatism”, with a scent of European values and norms.  

Acknowledging Iran’s position in the Middle East, second largest economy, and in the world, the country with second largest gas reserves, the report is a classic example of European expediency when it comes to opening relations with Iran and reducing its energetic dependency on Russian gas reserves. The report calls for the opening of an EU delegation in Teheran that would facilitate and foster dialogue and trade relations, as well as for the appointment of an Iranian expert for accessing the Horizon2020, European research flagship program.

Under the regional security headline, the report falls short of condemning Iran sponsoring terrorist activities for actors like Hezbollah and Al Nusra. While “the principle of ensuring respect, safety and security for peoples in all countries in the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinian people” will be the best reference you will get for condemning the anti-semitic and Holocaust denial recurring statements of the Iranian religious and political leadership.

Here at EIPA we are deeply concerned with this tilting of balance towards the strategic interests at the expense our European values in a foreign policy trend that separates Iran’s destabilizing behaviour in the region and its human rights record from the nuclear file.

For further reading, please click HERE


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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When two neighbours speak to the same House one day apart.

On Wednesday 22nd of June, the President of the State of Israel Reuven Rivlin will visit Brussels and address the European Parliament’s Plenary. On Thursday 23rd of June, the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas will visit Brussels address the same plenary.

Here, at EIPA we are looking forward to hear Mr Rivlin’s discourse, as it is quite rare for an Israeli politician to address the whole assembly and we are hoping Mr Mr Abbas will condemn the Tel Aviv attacks as it was asked by 23 Members of the European Parliament in a letter last week.

Abbas’ brother gets treated in Tel Aviv hospital

Despite PA chair’s enmity, his brother who lives in Qatar chose to get cancer treatment in Israeli hospital, in latest of surprising trend.

Even as Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues to attack Israel and incite terrorism, his brother Abu Luay chose to receive treatment at none other than an Israeli hospital.

Abbas’ brother was hospitalized at Assuta Medical Center in northern Tel Aviv, as Yedioth Aharonoth exposed on Wednesday morning.

Abu Luay, who lives in Qatar, came down with cancer. He decided specifically to come to the Tel Aviv hospital for treatment, where other family members of Abbas have been treated in the past.

The hospitalization of Abbas’ 76-year-old brother has been kept secret, partially out of patient confidentiality matters, but also partially due to security and diplomatic factors. However, on Wednesday morning the matter was revealed to the public in the report.

According to the report, Abu Luay completed his treatment at the hospital and has returned to his home in Qatar, but he is expected to return to Israel for continued treatment in the coming days.

This isn’t the first time the PA chairman’s family members have enjoyed Israeli treatment. Abbas’ wife was treated at the same hospital back in 2014, and his brother-in-law was also treated at Assuta just last October.

Abbas is not the only hostile Palestinian Arab leader to have his family members receive treatment in Israeli hospitals either – the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, has had numerous relatives treated in Israel even as he actively works to destroy the Jewish state.

Haniyeh’s daughter was treated in Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital in October 2014, less than two months after Hamas’s latest terror war on Israel, as was his mother-in-law that June and his granddaughter in November 2013.

After Haniyeh praised the murder of a three-month-old girl in Jerusalem by an Arab terrorist later in October 2014, then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) hinted Haniyeh’s daughter would not be given medical treatment in Israel again.

However, just two weeks after that, it was confirmed that senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk’s 60-year-old sister was allowed into Israel for cancer treatment.

The article was published on the Arutz Sheva website on the 13 April 2016

MEP of The Month – Mr Arne Gericke

For the only MEP elected to the European Parliament from Germany’s Family Party, Mr Gericke packs quite a punch. An outspoken critic of the erosion of family values, when he speaks in the European Parliament, people listen. But it is his unashamed support for the State of Israel, his love of the country and its democratic values, and his willingness to step up to the plate in defence of it that sets him apart for us here in EIPA.

As a member of EIPA’s advisory committee and a newly signed up member of a Parliamentary working group looking into accountability and conditionality of EU Aid as a whole, Mr Gericke is often seen speaking up on Israel’s behalf, either late into the night during Parliamentary debates in Strasbourg or first thing in the morning at briefings and events.

An articulate drafter of Parliamentary questions and also questions to the European Commission too, Arne Gericke has a knack of getting straight to the matter, leaving little wriggle room for opponents to try and untangle themselves. For these reasons and for being a great friend of EIPA’s as well as Israel’s, Mr Gericke you are our MEP of the month. Mazal Tov!


On the EU agenda

The meeting of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Israel chaired by MEP Fulvio Martusciello will take place on Thursday 26 May 2016  in Brussels.

Established in 1979, the Delegation for relations with Israel is one of Parliament’s oldest delegations, and is responsible for maintaining and developing Parliament’s contacts and relations with the Knesset 

The Delegation is composed of 18 members of the European Parliament from various political groups and of the same number of substitutes.

EIPA Advisory Board Breakfast Briefing

Today Members of the European Parliament and EIPA’s Advisory Board took part in a special breakfast briefing with H.E. Ambassador of Israel to the European Union, David Walzer on the recent wave of terror attacks on Israeli civilians. The MEPs discussed other pressing issues for the EU-Israel relationship such as the security implications of the ISIS presence in Iraq and Syria and the new dynamics in the region as a whole.



Letter to HR Federica Mogherini and to EP President Martin Schulz

Today a group of 13 MEPs, who support Israel and are friends of EIPA or sit on our Advisory committee, sent a letter to High Representative Federica Mogherini and European Parliament President Martin Schulz calling on them to issue a clear and unambiguous statement to Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, that inflammatory language and his silence in refusing to condemn the recent murders and stabbings against Israeli citizens will not be tolerated by the EU.

A highly appreciated action in these difficult times.

Brussels, 7 October 2015

Dear High Representative Mogherini, Dear President Schulz,

We, as Members of the European Parliament, Members of EIPA’s Advisory Committee and friends of EIPA, are deeply concerned at the recent increase in inflammatory language coming from the Palestinian Authority leadership, and Mahmoud Abbas in particular.
We are equally concerned at the silence and lack of condemnatory statements from Mr Abbas with regards to the murders of two parents in front of their children in the West Bank on Thursday, and the resounding silence following the stabbing murders and injuries inflicted against Israeli citizens this weekend in Jerusalem.
UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon had already condemned Mr Abbas, fearing that his recent inflammatory statements on events at the Temple Mount would increase tensions in Jerusalem. His fears were well founded.

Following Mr Abbas’ speech at the UN General Assembly last week – in which he stated that the Palestinian Authority no longer felt bound by the Oslo Accord Framework – The military wing of Fatah claimed responsibility for the murders of the young Israeli parents Eitam and Na’ama Henkin.

A Hamas spokesman praised the attack by the “brave resistance,” calling the murderous act “heroic,” and called for its members to carry out more attacks against Israel. The Popular Resistance Committees also “blessed” the attack, saying it was a natural reaction to “Israeli crimes.”

Israel has, in stark contrast, immediately condemned and brought the full weight of justice to bear on Israeli citizens who attack and murder Palestinian citizens.

We take note and welcome the EEAS statements in light of the murders and events in Jerusalem. You will also be aware of the Israeli Prime Minister’s desire to begin peace process negotiations immediately and without pre-conditions. This offer, which must be grasped, is still on the table.
High Representative, President, events in Israel and the West Bank are taking a worrying turn. Many are claiming that a third intifada has already begun.
We press upon you the need for an unambiguous and clear European repudiation of the language used by Mr. Abbas to date, his silence in the face of brutal and unwarranted murders of Israeli citizens, and his failure to properly respond and engage with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer of peace negotiations.
We urge you to issue this clear and unambiguous statement as soon as possible, so that the Palestinian leadership understands that incitement to hatred, and silence in the face of Palestinian terror attacks against Israel’s population have consequences and will not be tolerated by the European Union.
Yours Faithfully,

MEP Fulvio Martusciello (EPP, Italy)
MEP Frédérique Ries (ALDE, Belgium)
MEP Boris Zala (S&D, Slovakia)
MEP Ramon Tremosa Balcells (ALDE, Spain)
MEP Lars Adaktusson (EPP, Sweden)
MEP Petro Auštrevičiaus biuras (ALDE, Lithuania)
MEP Milan Zver EPP, Slovenia)
MEP Marijana Petir (EPP, Croatia)
MEP Bas Belder (ECR, the Netherlands)
MEP Hannu Takkula (ALDE, Finland)
MEP Arne Gericke (ECR, Germany)
MEP Cristian Preda (EPP, Romania)
MEP Branislav Škripek (ECR, Slovakia)

Images of an Israeli soldier attacked by Palestinian women
and children while trying to detain a rock-throwing boy show his restraint

tamimi_webImages of an Israeli soldier reacting to a violent attack on himself by women and children while trying to detain a rock-throwing boy near the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank went viral and made it into the international mainstream news outlets over the weekend.

In a video, he is shown with his rifle trying to stop the Palestinian boy accused of throwing stones. Later a young girl and several women arrive. The girl bites him and for a moment it even seems the group of women might overpower him, as his gun dangles uselessly in the dirt.

In his report, Eric Cortellessa, a journalist from The Times of Israel, working on a story about the larger dynamic between neighbouring Palestinian villages and settlements, wrote: An older female villager — Nariman Tamimi, the boy’s mother — came from behind the soldier and began pulling him off the boy. The soldier screamed for help as more people joined the effort. He then tried simultaneously to pin the boy down and fight off everyone else. The young girl bit his hand when he tried to grab her by the neck. Everyone around him then started to hit the soldier on the head.

Finally, his commander came and extricated him from the imbroglio.

The soldier and his commander left the scene without making any arrest.

According to a statement from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), “The youth in the picture was seen throwing rocks, and as such a decision was made to arrest him. During the arrest, a violent provocation began which included a number of Palestinian women and children. As a result of the violent clash, a decision was made by the regional commander to cease the arrest.”

Army officials added that: “Two additional Palestinian youths were arrested for throwing stones during the violent clashes. The soldier pictured was lightly wounded as a result of the violent actions against him.”

But the first general drift of the reporting in the international media was one of “shock” and firmly blaming the entire incident on the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and the soldier.

However, several hours later, one major British media outlet, The Daily Mail, placed a big question mark over the authenticity of the entire incident.

“Questions have been raised over the authenticity of shocking images of a boy with a broken arm being held at gunpoint by an Israeli soldier after a 13-year-old girl seen biting his attacker is said to be a prolific “Pallywood star,”wrote the Daily Mail Online.

“The remarkable images which surfaced online on Friday appeared to show an IDF soldier armed with a machine gun grappling with the little boy as two women make desperate attempts to pull him off following protests in the West Bank. A young girl is seen ambushing the balaclava-clad soldier by forcing the weapon from his hands and biting him before he flees the scene.”

The British newspaper added: “But it is thought the young girl in the photographs is Ahed Tamimi, whose parents Bassem and Nariman — also pictured — are well-known Palestinian activists in their village of Nabi Saleh. The teenager has appeared in a string of similar videos where she challenges Israeli security forces and rose to prominence after she was filmed confronting one who arrested her brother, which resulted in her being presented with a bravery award. … Online blogs have dubbed her ‘Shirley Temper’ and accused her of being a ‘Pallywood’ star — a term coined by author Richard Landes, describing the alleged media manipulation by Palestinians to win public relations war against Israel. … Her father, Bassem al-Tamimi, was convicted by an Israeli military court in 2011 for ‘sending people to throw stones, and holding a march without a permit’ — a charge his lawyers deny. He has been jailed eight times, while his wife has been detained five times. Other family members, including their son Waed, has also been arrested. Bassem organizes weekly protests and it was reportedly at one of these demonstrations that the shocking images are said to have been taken.”

Another British daily, The Telegraph, which initially ran the story with the headline “Palestinian women wrestle Israeli soldier off injured small boy”, later pulled the entire story from their website.

In fact, the residents of the village of Nabi Saleh hold a weekly violent demonstration against the nearby Jewish settlement community of Halamish, also known as Neveh Tzuf, in the southwestern hills of Samaria (northern West Bank).

Every week for the past several years at least, IDF soldiers show up to make sure the Nabi Saleh rioters don’t get too close to to Halamish.

Some residents of Nabi Saleh are already well known to be proper actors on the “Pallywood” stage.

Ahed Tamimi, who is seen in the most recent photos taking a bite out of the IDF soldier in question, together with her parents, Bassem and Nariman, are habitual rioters.

In 2012, Tamimi gained notoriety when she was filmed trying to provoke a violent response from IDF soldiers.

For years, the Tamimi family and their co-rioters were experiencing something of a dry spell. But they struck gold on Friday when an IDF soldier sent to play peacekeeper at the weekly demonstration got separated from his unit.

Immediately, the young boy in the photos began incessantly stoning the soldier, who responded by grabbing him. The Tamimis and others pounced and delivered a severe and humiliating beating to the soldier, all as the media photographers eagerly snapped as many shots as they could.

An important fact of the stories at international media – shown in videos- is that not once during the entire ordeal did the Israeli soldier in question threaten to use his weapon against the assailants.

Ironically, it was Arab readers who had seen the article and photos on the website of Al Jazeera that first and most notably picked up on this.

“Note how although he had a weapon, and although he is a soldier of the Zionist entity, he did not shoot him in the head. Imagine the same thing [happening] in Arab countries, how our people would have acted,” wrote a commenter named Osama, as translated into Hebrew by Israeli Facebook user Shay Ket.

Another named Tita pointed out that “if it had happened in Egypt, they would have shot that boy with live ammunition instead of being so considerate.”

What arguably stands out most about the video of this event is the restraint shown by the Israeli soldier. He was shoved, hit and bitten and yet maintained his discipline throughout the incident until a commander called off the detention, citing the escalating violence.

to see the picture see the following link

Israel to EU: Halt funding of NGOs working against us

Italian PM Matteo Renzi and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely

Italian PM Matteo Renzi and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely

Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely meets European officials to demand governments stop providing cash to allegedly anti-Israel organizations.
Israel is demanding that European Union member states halt funding to non-governmental organizations allegedly working to delegitimize the Jewish state. The Foreign Ministry claims that European governments provide 100-200 million euros annually to said groups.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has begun a series of consultations with European foreign ministers, their deputies, and ambassadors of several European countries, in which she is presenting evidence that their governments provide financial assistance to organizations that support boycotts against Israel, “blacken its face around the world, accuse it of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and war crimes; deprive the Jewish people of their right to self-determination, call to prosecute Israel in the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and support the right of return”.

Hotovely claimed that some of these organizations are associated with and actively support terror groups.

Hotovely has met withthe Dutch foreign minister, the Spanish deputy foreign minister, and the ambassadors of Sweden, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Switzerland.

According to Hotovely, the diplomats were presented with detailed documents collected by the Foreign Ministry and the NGO Monitor organization that prove the “problematic” funding. She emphasized that Israel sees support for organizations opposing its right to exist as crossing a red line.

Hotovely has instructed Israeli ambassadors in Europe to demand that ministries increase thier overview of funds given to such groups, warning that if her premptive diplomatic move fails, Israel will be forced to adopt legislation forbidding foreign countries from backing organizations with a clear anti-Israel bent.

According to Deputy Minister Hotovely, these are some of the European investments in such organizations in recent years:

The Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University in the West Bank, which received $10.5 million from the governments of Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The funds were to go to 24 political organizations over three years.

In 2014, the governments of Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the EU provided NIS 415,741 to the Coalition of Women for Peace, an organization that supports aspects of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.

The Netherlands provided NIS 13 million in the last three years to numerous NGOs, including Who Profits, Al-Haq, the Coalition of Women for Peace, and Al-Mezan.

Denmark provided NIS 23 million in the last three years to several NGOs, including Breaking the Silence, BADIL, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and other Palestinian organizations.

Switzerland provided NIS 5 million over the last three years to organizations like the Alternative Information Center, Zochrot, the Applied Research Institute, and Terrestrial Jerusalem.

Spain gave NIS 3.8 million in the last three years to groups including Breaking the Silence, the Coalition of Women for Peace, the Alternative Information Center, and NOVA, a Spanish BDS organization.

The United Kingdom provided NIS 12 million in 2008-2011 to Breaking the Silence, Yesh Din, Gisha, Bimkom, Terrestrial Jerusalem, and No Legal Frontiers.

 By Itamar Eichner,


Debate on the role of the EU in the Middle East Peace Process

The debate on the role of the EU in the Middle East Peace Process was postponed at the last minute!

The Socialists group decided to postpone in order to have it in the presence of Mrs Frederica Mogherini, VP and High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

The EP will vote on a text on this issue in September. It gives YOU the whole summer to talk to your MEP about it!

Stay tuned on the 22 July, for some announcement on the Middle East by the Foreign Affairs Council.

Meeting of the Delegation for relations with Israel in EP

Today, the delegation will host the following speakers:

– Mr Jafar Farah, Director, Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel

-Mr Leonello Gabrici, Head of Division, Middle East II, Israel, occupied territories and Middle East Peace Process, European External Action Service

-Mr Jean-Louis Ville, Head of Unit, Governance, Democracy, Gender, Human Rights, DG DEVCO, European Commission

Check this space for news about this meeting!

View the agenda here!

EIPA Update from the 29th of May

FIFA President Sepp Blatter at a press conference in Jerusalem, on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. (photo credit: Sebastian Scheiner/AP)

FIFA President Sepp Blatter at a press conference in Jerusalem, on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. (photo credit: Sebastian Scheiner/AP)

For the full Newsletter, follow this link!

“For he’s football crazy, He’s football mad, The football it has taken away
the little bit o’ sense he had…”

Some of you might remember these words from a popular song a couple of decades ago. The chorus soon became part of everyday language and it was sung by disgruntled wives, mothers and girlfriends.

But this week, it took on a whole new meaning, as we watched one of the largest edifices of world football – FIFA – crumble at its very foundations as a corruption scandal involving cash for favours, bribery and the footballing equivalent of nepotism gnawed away at its reputation.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s president is feeling the heat. Already many members are calling for his head on a plate, desperate to salvage a modicum of decorum and respect for the organisation.

What has any of this to do with Israel you might ask?

Well, followers of football may be aware about the ridiculous Palestinian bid to have Israel kicked out of FIFA.

And today is D-DAY.

A couple of days ago, the vote was, well, a non-vote. It didn’t have the requisite support and was essentially just about a PR and media blitz by Palestinians, in short politics by press release.

But there are now genuine fears in Jerusalem’s corridors of power that the current corruption scandal and a Presidential vote later might, in the end, lead to a vote on ousting Israel from the organization.

Why? Because in his bid for re-election, Blatter may require a substantial number of votes from the World’s Arab nations due to possible opposition from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Blatter could call the Palestinian proposal to a vote in order to appease the Arab states.

It is said some people will do anything to cling onto power. Could Israel be the victim of such machinations and an internal FIFA power play? We will have to wait and see…

In other news this week, in a worrying sign of increasing tensions and hostility along its borders, Israel prepares to undertake a massive security drill.

We also bring you news about a baby induced by a rocket attack (a perfect riposte don’t you think? Those who want death, got a new Israeli life instead).

Lastly, are you one of those people that take pictures of your food in restaurants? Here at EIPA we are not sure we approve of this trend, but nonetheless if the answer is yes then there’s a new restaurant in Tel Aviv that is taking it to a whole new level. Read on

Thanks as always for your support. Until next week.

On the EU agenda

Middle East peace process 170315_fac

Brussels 18 May: The European Foreign Affairs Council – made up of foreign Affairs Ministers from across the EU and High Representive Mogherini will convene to discuss the situation in the Middle East. 

Usually these meetings don’t cause too much in the way of ripples, but this one carries with it some extra spice:

 Mrs Mogherini will meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel almost immediately afterwards.

The message that she will bring with her from her EU agency and the member states will more than likely shape the short-to mid term future of EU-Israel relations. In other words, a big deal then.

In a background note prepared by the European External Action Service (EEAS) ahead of both meetings Mogherini’s agency laid out some of its thinking in broad brush terms.

Mogherini congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his new government on their appointment. The European Union will continue to work with Israel on a mutually beneficial relationship as well as on issues of joint interest, she said.

The note went on to state:

“The EU re-iterated its support for a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that should lead to an independent, contiguous and viable Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security.

A comprehensive peace should fulfil the legitimate aspirations of both parties, including those of Israelis for security and those of Palestinians for statehood.

The EU has a strategic interest in ensuring an end to the conflict and is willing to actively contribute to a negotiated solution of all final status issues. The EU High Representative has declared her readiness to personally engage in order to facilitate further progress. In addition, the Council appointed Fernando Gentilini as EU Special Representative for the Middle East peace process on 15 April 2015.

The EU recognises Israel in its 1967 borders and has not ceased to repeat that settlements in the occupied territories are illegal under international law. The EU’s concern about the fact that settlement activity increasingly threatens the very possibility of a two-state solution to the conflict has grown in the last years. At the same time, the Council has underlined the EU’s commitment to ensure full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlements.

The EU is the largest aid contributor to the Palestinians, with substantial support for the benefit of the Gaza population: in the last ten years the EU has spent more than €1.3 billion in the Gaza Strip. At the donors’ conference for Gaza in October 2014, the EU and its member states pledged more than €450 million for its reconstruction.”

So far, so standard. But as we all know, the devil is in the details. We need to read between the lines.

We don’t know the shape of the political leverage that the EU is willing to bring on Israel as a price for continued settlement construction, much less what it intends to do to secure it’s “strategic interest” in the region.

 These two fundamental questions, potentially backed up by anticipated European Parliamentary resolutions on the subject, will frame the conversations and debate between the EU and Israel in the short months ahead.3

On the EU agenda

11 MEPs from across the EU and from across the political spectrum got together and authored a written declaration on the funnelling of EU Aid to terrorist organisations.

A written declaration is a type of political petition. If it gets more than 376 signatures (half of the Parliament) it prompts a formal debate in the European Parliament.

In 2013, the Court of Auditors published a report denouncing the lack supervision of EU Aid funds to the Palestinian Authority.

See link>

Additionally – and just very recently – the French and German governments requested the European Commission to urgently tackle the matter and ensure that taxpayers’ money doesn’t end up in terrorist hands.

The Commission is in charge of the distribution of EU Aid to a number of  countries outside the EU.

These funds are supposed to be used to support humanitarian crises or for development projects, for example.

The European Parliament, as the only directly elected EU institutional body does not have any proper control, input, oversight or adequate scrutiny on how these funds are being directed or spent.

Calls have been made for a much more transparent approach and much more politically accountable scrutiny.

Format Post: Quote

This post uses format „Quote“ and it is styled differently. When you enter the content you’d like to show as a quote you just need to mark “Quote” inside the “Format” box on the right side under the “Publish” menu.
Anariel Design – About Quote Format Post, 2013

Format Post: Quote

Post Format: Gallery

This post uses format “Gallery”. In this format left column will show the title and content. For this example we used Jetpack Tiled Galleries and text. However you are free to use whatever you want. In the right column you need to upload your featured image.