President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Commission Ursula von der LeyenReuters

40 members of the Knesset, from parties in both the coalition and opposition, signed a letter on Tuesday, addressed to the leaders of the European Union, in protest of a recently leaked document, which calls for helping the Palestinian Authority actively take control of land in Area C, which is supposed to be under full Israeli control under the Oslo Accords.

"On the Arch of Titus in Rome, engraved in stone is the seven-branched menorah of the Holy Temple as it is plundered by the legions of Rome. "Jerusalem is lost" – Hierosolyma est Perdita or Hep-Hep – became the Latin catchphrase used to deride and humiliate the Jewish exiles on European soil," the letter opens. "In the 1930s, graffiti in a similar vein was scribbled on walls in the streets of Berlin: "Juden Nach Palästina” – “Jews go to Palestine.

And now that we have finally returned to Jerusalem and to the land of Israel, Europe would claim that we are foreigners in our own country, that we do not belong in our own homeland.

The letter continues: "Yesterday, we learned of an official policy document of the European Union, a document the gravity of which cannot be overstated, one that leaves no room for doubt as to the one-sidedness and animosity of the EU towards the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The document completely ignores our people’s historical affinity to our homeland, completely ignores the political agreements and the status of the State of Israel in Area C and seeks to establish the 1949 borders as Israel’s final-status permanent borders – in complete disregard of the Jewish communities in the area.

The letter goes on to call out, the EU's call to monitor archaeological Israeli activities at Jewish heritage sites. "This singular call has but one goal: to subvert the deep and indestructible bond between the Jewish people and its country and homeland – its bond to the Hasmonean palaces and fortresses at Tel Aroma and Jericho, to Joshua’s altar on Mount Ebal, to our first capital in Shilo and to the tombs of our ancestors, our forefathers and foremothers, in the Cave of the Patriarchs and on the road to Bethlehem.

No matter how many PLO flags you hoist over ancient Samaria or Tel Aroma, you will never be able to change one simple fact: The stones of Judea and Samaria – the stones of Jerusalem – speak our ancient language; and as one of our great poets, Natan Alterman, wrote: “No nation turns its back on its own heritage,” the letter declares.

"Your efforts to expedite the Palestinian Authority’s seizure of Area C, while trampling underfoot the universal principles of environmental protection and preservation of archaeological sites, constitute an extremely grave breach of the relationship between Israel and the European Union, causing irreplaceable damage to natural and archaeological treasures throughout Judea and Samaria.

Sadly, the document revealed yesterday exposes only the tip of the iceberg of the EU’s activities to undermine the State of Israel. We have not lost sight of your ongoing and continuous contribution, both direct and indirect, to campaigns designed to tarnish Israel’s name, from blood libels regarding alleged violence on the part of settlers, through unfounded accusations that Israel deliberately harms children, to specious comparisons of the policies of the government of the State of Israel to those of the Apartheid regime in South Africa of yesteryear."

The letter continues to state that "While some of Europe’s leaders may have forgotten who made Jerusalem the eternal and unified capital of Israel more than 3,000 years ago, we have not forgotten!

While some of Europe’s leaders may have forgotten the history of Hadrian, who changed the name of the Province of Judea to the “Province of Palestine” in revenge for the heavy price in blood the Jewish rebels exacted from his army during the years of the Bar-Kokhba Revolt (132-136 CE), a change maliciously designed to celebrate the cause of Israel’s historical nemesis from the days of Kings Saul and David, the Philistines, we have not forgotten!

While some of Europe’s leaders may have forgotten the price we paid for the loss of our political freedom – a price that no other nation on earth has ever paid, we have not forgotten!"

Towards the end of the letter, the MKs mention the Hanukkah story: "At this time of the year, when we mark the rebellion of the Hasmoneans against the Greek empire, let us recall the words of Simon the High Priest, as quoted in the Book of the Maccabees, in his letter to Antiochus: 'It is not a foreign land that we have seized, nor have we set our rule over the property of strangers. This is the inheritance of our forefathers, which at one time was illicitly conquered, and we, when the opportunity arose, recovered the inheritance of our ancestors.'”

The letter closes with three demands from the European Union: "1. Immediately halt all illegal construction activities in Israel’s sovereign territory – with an emphasis on Area C; 2. Immediately halt the damage being caused by illegal activity funded by the EU to heritage sites and nature in Judea and Samaria; 3. Immediately desist from funding delegitimization organizations that promote antisemitic propaganda against the State of Israel, and even more emphatically, to immediately desist from funding Israeli organizations established to serve the foreign policy interests of the EU – which undermines Israel sovereignty."