Why does Israel allow the EU flag in Area C?
Why does Israel allow the EU flag in Area C?

On May 27, 2019, United with Israel reported "In one of its latest ploys, the Palestinian Authority (PA), with support from the European Union (EU), took control of a strategic area in the heart of the Etzion Bloc, between the Jerusalem-Hevron highway and the Jewish village of Neve Daniel.

Named “Shoshkhalah,” this brand new “village” was created over the past two years by Palestinian Arabs attempting to create false “historic” facts-on-the-ground where none previously existed.

Yishai Hemo, Field Coordinator for Regavim, an organization that advocates legal accountability for national land use and the return of the rule of law, explained in a video the process for the creation of Shoshkhalah:

“Over the course of the last two years, activists from the Arab town Al Khader, backed by Palestinian Authority and European Union funding, occupied the ruins of two ancient ‘shomerot’ (watchman’s huts) – primitive stone structures used by passing shepherds or farmers as shelter from the elements during the changing seasons - that dot the landscape in the Jerusalem and Sataf areas. They renovated these abandoned structures and turned them into homes – and from that point, in very short order, totally new structures have been added in the surrounding area.”

In an act of defiance, the refurbished buildings display the European Union’s emblem. There are sign posts describing the site as an ancient village.

Aerial photos prove, however, that more than 15 homes have been built in this area in the past two years alone. Aerial photos taken in 1967, as well as maps dating back to 1880, confirm that there was never any settlement in this area.

“This is another phase in the Palestinian Authority-European Union program to seize control over strategic areas,” continued Hemo. 

On February 5, 2015 the Daily Mail reported "The EU is acting illegally by funding unauthorised Palestinian building in areas placed under Israeli control by international law, say an NGO, international lawyers and MEPs.

More than 400 EU-funded Palestinian homes have been erected in Area C of the 'West Bank', which was placed under Israeli jurisdiction during the Oslo Accords – a part of international law to which the EU is a signatory..."

A new Arab city has been born in an area of critical strategic importance, creating a contiguous Arab pale of settlement that stretches from the Arad Valley through Har Hevron and eastern Gush Etzion..."
In November 2018 Regavim reported that: "A comprehensive, in-depth report recently released by Regavim exposes a secretive program undertaken by the Palestinian Authority, with massive financial support provided by the European Union, European governments, and other foreign interests. Dubbed “The Roots Project,” this systematic program of land theft targets areas placed under full Israeli jurisdiction by the Oslo Accords and international law. Through seemingly-innocuous agricultural projects, the PA continues to take advantage of a legal loophole in order to effectively annex territory throughout Judea and Samaria..."

Regavim also denounced "On 20 November 2018, Israel’s High Court of Justice heard Regavim’s petition regarding an illegal Arab city growing on the grounds of IDF Training Range 917. The city, made up of 1,700 illegal structures – homes, schools, clinics, mosques – covers tens of thousands of dunams. The infrastructure that supports it all is spread over dozens of kilometers, thanks to generous funding provided by  the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, and other foreign interests.

The bottom line: A new Arab city has been born in an area of critical strategic importance, creating a contiguous Arab pale of settlement that stretches from the Arad Valley through Har Hevron and eastern Gush Etzion..."

The Knesset must immediately cancel the agreement signed by Netanyahu  with the EU allowing the EU to finance Palestinian projects in Jerusalem and Area C. On December 28, 2017 Israel National News reported "A number of government ministers were surprised to discover this week that, without notice, under their noses, an agreement was signed with the European Union that could have very significant implications for the State of Israel vis-a-vis the PA, B’Sheva revealed this morning, Thursday."

This is an agreement called the "Transboundary Cooperation Program in the Mediterranean Basin" and is aimed at financing projects costing tens of millions of euros for 14 non-EU countries in the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which is also defined as a political entity.

The agreement includes, inter alia, a clause stating that for Israel, the agreement does not apply beyond the Green Line, in eastern Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights. In the areas under the Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, it applies without any qualifications. In other words, Israeli entities in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights will not be able to participate in the projects and receive funding.

The PA is enjoying a privilege here that no previous agreement has given it: it will not only be responsible for projects in the Palestinian Authority, but will be able to seek support for projects in the areas that, according to the Oslo Accords and other agreements, are under Israeli sovereignty. These include Area C, which is certainly under Israeli control and eastern Jerusalem - where the Palestinian Authority has no legal status and, therefore, should not have a foothold as a decision-maker.

What kind of projects does the PA want to implement within the framework of this agreement with the EU? For example, the PA wants the EU to invest in a project that promotes the "Palestinian heritage" of Sebastia, one of the places where Israel has actually consolidated its control in recent years. Another project on the agenda of the Palestinian Authority is activity at one of the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem, a place that is, by all accounts, under Israeli sovereignty. A long list of projects aimed at undermining Jewish heritage and the State of Israel is on the PA’s agenda.

How did this happen? How was such an agreement approved without any significant protest? The story of the approval of this agreement begins on December 13. All government ministers received a request to approve the agreement, stating that "in accordance with sections 10 and 19 (b) of the government's work regulations, if no reservation is filed within a week, it will acquire the force of a government decision."

...Minister Miri Regev, who understood that the proposal was at the very least problematic and required amendments, exercised her right and submitted a reservation. It was in headlines for a day, and some of the cabinet ministers who understood what was happening did not bother to present reservations of their own - because they relied on Regev's.

On Monday, some ministers were surprised to hear from the cabinet secretary that the decision had been approved. These were ministers who wanted to hold a discussion on the plan at the upcoming cabinet meeting because of the inherent problems with it. The Cabinet Secretary made it clear to the ministers that asked him about the matter that Regev's reservations were recorded as opposition to the decision - and in fact as a vote against.

Because Regev did not explicitly request an additional hearing, however, the automatic approval of the agreement came into force. Other ministers who had counted on Regev's opposition were left with a decision that not a few had wanted to oppose or work to amend, but who missed the train, each for his own reasons..."

According to the Oslo Accord, parties agreed not to initiate or take any steps that will change the status of the territories pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations (Oslo II, Article 31(7)). Allowing the EU flag in Area C is recognizing Palestinian Sovereignty in violation of the Oslo Accords. The Knesset should ban the EU flag from Area C.

Ezequiel Doiny is author of "Obama's assault on Jerusalem's Western Wall"