Experts: EU Yesha Policy Could Lead to 'Legal Morass'
Despite Israel's efforts to stop the process, the European Union on Friday published its new official policy boycotting Jews and Israelis in areas of Israel liberated in the 1967 Six Day War, including Judea and Samaria and most of Jerusalem. Beginning next January, contracts and agreements between EU entities and businesses, individuals, and institutions from those areas will not be legally recognized by EU courts and forums.
In a statement, EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton said that despite Israel's protestations to the contrary, “in no way will this prejudge the outcome of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. It has been the EU's long held position that it will recognize changes made to the borders once agreed by both parties" in talks on a two-state peace accord,” Ashton said, adding that the document "reiterates the long-held position that bilateral agreements with Israel do not cover the territory that came under Israel's administration in June 1967.”
Israeli experts said that the implications of the policy could have a major impact on how Israel does business with the EU. For example, Holocaust survivors who have accounts in banks in areas like Ramat Eshkol – considered “occupied” under the EU guidelines – may find that their reparation payments are held up, as Germany, an EU member, would refuse to transfer money to such banks. Israeli owners of property in Europe who love in Judea and Samaria could find themselves unable to collect rent from their properties, as European courts would not enforce those contracts. The policy, said the experts, could cause a “legal morass” that would tie up courts in Israel and the EU for years.
The new policy is extremely radical, MK Tzachi Hanegbi said on Israel Radio Friday – far more radical than what the U.S. or even Europe itself was accustomed to in the past. There is no point in a building freeze, Hanegbi said; Israel has done that in the past “with no results to show for it.” With the new boycott policy, the EU “has removed itself from the position of an honest broker. The United States supports Israel's position that rejects preconditions for negotiations,” he added.