The European Union spends hundreds of millions of euros helping the Palestinians promote terrorism and illegally seize protected lands. Clearly, the E.U. is more interested in supporting the Palestinian war against Israel than in promoting the cause of peace. Why else would the Europeans so aggressively violate the Oslo Accords—to which they were signatory?
In 1993, Israel and the Palestinians signed the first of the Oslo Accords, a series of agreements designed to ultimately bring about a final, peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Among the sponsors of the Oslo Accords was the European Union, which signed the agreements as a witness. Needless to say, after 30 years, the Oslo Accords have failed to bring about any semblance of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Despite Israel’s three generous post-Oslo offers of peace in exchange for virtually all the West Bank and a capital in Jerusalem—in 2000, 2001 and 2008—the Palestinians rejected them all. While the Europeans have always said they support building Palestinian institutions to support an independent state, in recent years, they have swerved to a more perversely cynical strategy. Indeed, the E.U. is now hypocritically helping the Palestinians violate the very agreements that both solemnly signed three decades ago.
Today, the E.U. is funding organizations with links to Palestinian terrorists. It is also surreptitiously financing and promoting illegal Palestinian construction in parts of Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank) in which Israel has exclusive control. All three actions directly violate the Oslo Accords. Only a concerted effort by Israel and its supporters will halt the E.U.’s support of terrorist-affiliated organizations and stop the illegal Palestinian takeover of land in Judea and Samaria.
The Oslo Accords gave the Palestinians self-rule in parts of Judea and Samaria, which was divided into three areas. Area A, where the overwhelming majority of Palestinians live, was to be administered and secured by the Palestinian Authority. Area B was to be administered by the P.A. but secured by Israel. Area C, where relatively few Palestinians live and which constitutes 60% of Judea and Samaria, was to be administered and secured exclusively by Israel.
In 1999, the European Council, the top decision-making body in the E.U., issued the Berlin Declaration, which states, “The E.U. is convinced that the creation of a democratic, viable and peaceful sovereign Palestinian state … would be the best guarantee of Israel’s security.” The Council also expressed support for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
We should note that the Oslo Accords never guaranteed the Palestinians a state, let alone one based on the pre-1967 frontiers. Moreover, the E.U. ignores the fact that the Palestinians have already rejected offers of peace and a state with roughly the pre-1967 borders.
In the summer of 2022, a confidential E.U. document called the European Joint Development Programme for Area C Discussion Note was leaked to the media. The document stated the E.U.’s plan was aimed at “defending the rights of Palestinians living in Area C and preserving Area C as part of a future Palestinian State, in line with the Oslo Accords.”
But, in the absence of negotiations, the Oslo Accords gave exclusive control of Area C to Israel. Thus, E.U.’s efforts to make this area part of a future Palestinian state circumvent a negotiated settlement—which contradicts the Oslo Accords.
The E.U.’s rogue land grab has been quite successful in helping the Palestinians unlawfully seize territory. According to Regavim, an Israeli organization that monitors Palestinian activity in Area C, illegal Palestinian construction there increased by 80% last year. The Palestinians have built a total of 81,317 illegal structures covering 38,000 acres, according to Regavim.
In 2021, Israel’s Intelligence Ministry released a report confirming that some 500 million euros in E.U. funding helps the Palestinians create facts on the ground in Area C. The report named Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Belgium and Germany as primary donors financing illegal Palestinian projects in Area C.
In addition, the E.U. funds Palestinian organizations linked to terrorists, which is also a violation of the Oslo Accords.
In July last year, E.U. members Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden decided to restore funding to several Palestinian organizations banned by Israel, despite the Israel Security Agency informing the E.U. that these organizations had strong ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which has been labeled a terrorist organization by both the United States and the European Union.
In fact, three officials in one organization funded by the European Union, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), were implicated in the murder of 17-year-old Israeli Rina Shnerb in 2019.
How can Israel respond to the E.U.’s Oslo Accords violations? Stronger enforcement of Israeli law in Area C is one way, and the new Israeli government has promised to do this. Recently, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich put a moratorium on Palestinian construction in Area C.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently stated on his Twitter account that authorities had already evacuated 38 illegal Palestinian structures. He went on to say that “the situation in which Palestinians run amok with illegal construction in an attempt to establish facts on the ground—is over.”
Rather than encouraging Palestinian independence, the Europeans have become proxies in the Palestinian terror war against Israel. As such, they are subverting chances for peace negotiations, and for peace itself. The U.S. State Department needs to pressure E.U. members to stop violating the Oslo Accords—to cease illegal land grabs in Area C and funding terrorist organizations.
James Sinkinson is president of Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.