Israel Resource Review 16th April, 2001


When the EU Facilitates Israeli Organizations in Support of the Oslo Process
Dr. Daphne Burdman
Psychiatric Research Analyst, Jerusalem, Israel

The Middle East peace process initiated with the Oslo Accords has attracted many supporters of which the European Union is pre-eminent, with a financial aid program from the EU and the European Investment Bank amounting to three billion dollars since 1994.

So said Jean Breteche, Representative of the European Union Commission to the West Bank and Gaza Strip who is in effect both Ambassador and administrative officer- coordinator for the E.U. to the Palestinian Authority (a so-called "developing nation" in the terminology of aid programs). What is not widely known is that the EU delegation has become deeply involved in funding Israeli political projects that work closely with the Palestinian Authority.

I spoke with Mr. Breteche at the European Commission headquarters in the Sheikh Jarrah Israeli Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem where a number of other Representative Offices and Consulates are to be found, among them the Italian, Swedish and Swiss offices all of which act as liaisons to the nascent Palestinian Authority

Mr. Breteche defined the mandate of the E.U., to "instill humanitarian principles, respect for human rights, and the concepts of a viable democracy". "The EU in Palestine", as he designates what Israel considers to be the Palestinian Authority, he says "is working predominantly in two sectors, namely education and health…". He notes that they yet have a long list of new projects, are by far the most active in supporting development in Gaza, and are now financing many N.G.O's, including a variety of agencies that are sponsored under the 'People to People' program to improve communication between Israelis and Palestinians. Yet among those agencies one finds a list of political organizations that are bonafide grass roots left wing Israeli organizations.

For one, Mr Breteche confirmed that Peace Now has been and will continue to be funded by the EU, and stated that its program would help to create contact between groups of Israeli and Palestinian people. However Peace Now is hardly a social work organization or an institute for reconciliation. Peace Now is a long standing indigenous left wing Israeli organization which has strongly criticized the Oslo process and the Israeli government for not demanding the removal of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. "Peace Now" takes a political position that Jewish communities beyond the Green Line are the single most important impediment to peace.

In its 1999 report to the European Commission, Peace Now acknowledged that it had used EU funds for a massive program to reach out to new immigrants to bring them to their political demonstrations, and to print up their fliers and pamphlets in several languages .Meanwhile, Peace Now has never addressed itself to the longstanding issues of human rights abuses or , anti-democratic tendencies that permeate the Palestinian Authority, which would most certainly have been within the purview of the EU's agenda for human rights and democracy.

Meanwhile, EU Commission in Tel Aviv affirms that the Peace Now program "Israeli-Palestinian Peace Campaign" will continue to receives ongoing funds from the EU. The EU is also allocating another 400,000 EURO for MADA, the political organization that supports the Member of Knesset Roman Bronfman, the Russian Israeli legislator who broke from Sharansky's faction shortly after the May 1999 election. A source at the EU wrote that the EU aims to find ways to encourage newly arrived Russian Jews to participate in the political activities of Israel's peace movement. When the Peace Now demonstrations are publicized in European media, this in turn influences international public opinion including the EU constituency regarding the settlements, although nowhere in the Declaration of Principles is there made any mention anywhere of restriction of Israeli building beyond the green line.

'Mr. Breteche also confirmed that the EU has been supporting the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions for the past few years. The record shows that the EU allocated 250,000 Euro (approximately U.S.$221550) to this group. which organizes press campaigns and public demonstrations against the practice of land expropriation and house demolitions by the Israeli Army,. When asked whether there have been any political reactions to the funding Mr. Breteche stated that there have not been. Jeff Halper, the director of the Committee Against House Demolitions, acknowledged the EU funding and noted that his organization operates under an umbrella of about fifteen other political organizations, among them Peace Now. Halper describes the EU as dedicated to "peace education of the Israeli public". However, Halper has been known to grossly exaggerated Israeli policy in regard to home demolitions. claiming that Israel was set to destroy 6,000 homes in Jerusalem when the number was between 129 and 152. Speaking on March 22 to an interfaith forum, Halper claimed that the bypass roads in the West Bank were restricted to Jews only - a falsfified statement. On a recent lecture tour in the US , Halper described the Israeli government as a Nazi-like regime.

Breteche also confirmed that in the past year the EU had agreed to fund the program the "Four Mothers Movement to leave Lebanon in Peace".

The program was to have provided a platform for Israeli and Lebanese women to develop further contacts and understandings after a potential Israeli withdrawal.

However, Breteche noted, since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, funding the "four mothers" organization was no longer considered by the EU to be necessary;

In fact, one wonders why the funding of this project was dropped after the IDF withdrawal, since the creation of a peaceful ambience in the border zone was certainly within the mandate of the EU and might have been strongly advantageous to an ultimate true peace.

Breteche confirmed that among other organizations to be funded by the EU Commission are the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), MEILER, Ir Shalem, and Macon Mifne.

The purpose of the CFR project is for 'Strengthening Palestinian Public Institutions', a project run by Henry Siegman, a man who has made a career out of writing anti Israel op-eds for the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. Breteche referred to Seigman's latest report to the EU which criticized the P.A, but was vague about whether .it would be ever be publicized.

Bretheche confirmed that the EU has also helping to finance the Tel Aviv based MEILER, The Middle East Center for Legal and Economic Research which surveys Palestinian refugee real estate holdings throughout Israel.

The project provides precise identification of pre-1948 Arab holdings throughout Israel, working with a supercomputer funded by the EU and situated at the Orient House, designed to help Arabs who live in refugee camps to establish their claims for compensation for property lost in 1948 from 531 Arab villages.

However, a visit to the Orient House clarified that this is also aiding Arabs in locating, reclaiming, and making actual plans to move back to these villages, even if they have been replaced by Israeli cities, farms and woodlands.

Breteche also noted the EU role in financing the full costs of legal services of "Ir Shalem", in its program to stop Israeli government expansion in East Jerusalem, and to stop the Israeli eviction order of Palestinian Authority personnel from Orient House, which the Israeli authorities claimed had been functioning as an illegal P.A. "embassy" in Jerusalem.

Breteche confirmed that the EU financed the full cost of the litigation against Israeli building projects throughout East Jerusalem including Har Homa, Ras El Amud at the Mount of Olives, and against the purchase of former Jewish homes in the Moslem quarter of Jerusalem.

Another Israeli grass roots organization of some interest also funded by the EU is Macon Mifne, which defines its tasks as "education for peace and democracy of the Jewish settlers and their right wing supporters within Israel; Yet the founder and operator of Machon Mifne Zvia Greenfield, has made her name by appearing on regular T.V. and radio talk shows, while conducting haranguing, scurrilous attacks on the settlers as the cause of the current Israeli-Palestinian problems. Her capacity for "conflict resolution" and education of settlers seems lacking indeed.

The common thread of each of these native Israeli groups is that they all have been able to get a lion's share of media attention, mostly outside Israel, with the generous help of the EU.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Ha'aretz: IDF 'White Paper' Slams PA Officials
Peres Opposes It
Not Clear If and When It Will Be Released

Aluf Benn

The Israel Defense Forces has recently completed a new "White Paper," which criticizes the Palestinian Authority and its chairman, Yasser Arafat. The document forms a basis for an international information campaign aimed at undermining the PA's global image.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who learned of the IDF's initiative from Ha'aretz, is adamantly opposed to the document. His bureau said, "The army's role is to defend the country, and not to write books or undertake such information campaigns."

Peres discussed the matter with Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who said he did not approve of the White Paper or any other such propaganda campaign against the Palestinians.

The new white paper is an update of a similar document released in November 2000 under the Barak government, and written at the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The new edition contains many more details of the institutional and personal corruption of the PA and its officials, as well as reproductions of inciting articles that have appeared in the PA's media, and photographs of terrorist attacks carried out since the last edition was completed.

The document also contains a chapter on the PA's abrogation of human rights. The new White Paper was put together by IDF Colonel Eran Lerman, assistant to the head of the IDF's manpower research department, Colonel Amos Gilad.

A source in the Prime Minister's Office said yesterday that the document's date of release would have to be carefully weighed, depending of the Palestinians' behavior in the immediate future, as well as other factors. The revelation of the personal corruption within the PA, in particular, raises a problem, since many PA officials have business links inside Israel.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

The View from Katif, South of Gaza
A Jewish Resident of Katif Under Fire
Moshe Saperstein
Resident, Neve Dekalim, Katif, South of Gaza


At 6:10 this morning the first mortar shell fell on Neve Dekalim. I and several others ran out of shul -- amazing how some people will use any excuse to get out of shul -- but, though the explosion had been very loud, there was nothing to be seen. Not a minute passed before a second explosion, somewhat more distant, was heard. Still no clue as to the site. Thirty seconds later, while we stared at each other in perplexity, the third and loudest explosion occured. Still no smoke, flying debris, any sign that it wasn't more than sound effects. For a moment I remembered a "Lights Out!" radio play from my youth in which a record of a train is played to scare an elderly couple living near abandoned railroad tracks. Could our hot-for-peace-partners be doing that to us?

I ran home to find La Passionara, [ed: wife, Rachel] standing in front of the house. "Are those doors slamming, dear?" she said in her most sarcastic tones. This was to put me in my place for trying to convince her on earlier occasions that the loud noises she took for explosions were merely doors being slammed.

A moment or two later a security jeep came by. The driver said one shell had fallen in Kfar Yam, a kilometer away, and two shells had fallen in the outsized petting zoo we have at the entrance to our settlement. I had barely begun making ill-considered jokes about 'Mourning for Mongoose' and 'Sitting Shiva for Sheep' when another vehicle pulled up. The driver said he had just come from the sites of the explosions. I asked about the animals. "What animals?" he said. "One shell fell on the basketball court in the schoolyard. The second hit the bus stop outside the school. The third landed across the road from the guardpost at the entrance to the settlement." He drove off with a cheery "Now we can hold our heads up. We've been hit, too!" [As of this writing, 10 a.m., I have no idea where the shells landed. Maybe they were a fignewton of our imagination?]

At 7, fully forty-five minutes after the third and last bomb, the loudspeakers came on telling everyone to remain under cover. At 7:20 the loudspeakers came on again telling us to return to normal. But what is 'normal' for us?

The shelling of Neve Dekalim was the fourth item on this morning's news. The third was that three mortar shells were fired at IDF checkpoints from the area of Beit Hanun the IDF evacuated last night, the same area from which shells had been fired on Sderot. [The first two items concerned shooting in Israel (im)proper.]

It is clear, at least to me, that today's shelling is the response to Israel's craven capitulation to American pressure. The spinmeisters may pretend that the decision to withdraw was made before American criticism. This is clearly nonsense. It is difficult to exaggerate the psychological damage done to us by this withdrawal. I had spent the better part of the afternoon arguing that our entry into Beit Hanun was a sign that Sharon was on the right track. The withdrawal showed that if, indeed, Sharon was on the right track, then he has been derailed.

More than ever it is clear that in the view of the government, and of many of our fellow citizens, we are a legitimate target for terrorist attacks. We can expect little in the way of protection, and less in the way of deterrence of our attackers.

It wouldn't upset me if I came back as a duck in some future life. I just hadn't expected to be a [sitting] duck in this one.

The writer is an IDF veteran, handicapped from the Yom Kippur War in 1973

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Go to the Israel Resource Review homepage

The Israel Resource Review is brought to you by the Israel Resource, a media firm based at the Bet Agron Press Center in Jerusalem, and the Gaza Media Center under the juristdiction of the Palestine Authority.
You can contact us on