publishedmedium:the green line

  • Israeli food makers seek solution to EU settlement sanctions

    The EU bans the import of organic produce from settlements. From September 1 it will block the entry of all animal products, including eggs, poultry and dairy.
    By Ora Coren | Aug. 18, 2014 Haaretz

    Israeli manufacturers are preparing for increased limitations on imports to the European Union of products produced in the settlements. The European Union may ban outright foods grown or raised in Israeli settlements or manufactured foods using raw materials from settlements.

    The EU bans the import of organic produce from settlements. From September 1, it will block the entry of all animal products, including eggs, poultry and dairy. Israeli industry figures fear the ban could be extended to conventionally grown produce and will force Israel’s food export industry from using produce grown in the settlements.

    This would include not only West Bank settlements but also the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem.

    The Agriculture Ministry, in partnership with the economy and foreign ministries, is trying to persuade the EU to reverse the decision, but it is also preparing Israeli producers for its implications.

    The official EU reason behind the decision is public health. Since the European authorities do not recognize Agriculture Ministry activity beyond the Green Line, food from the area is considered unregulated.

    According to the Israel Export Institute, in 2013 Israel exported some $87 million in processed fruit and vegetable products to the EU, out of the total food exports of $365 million. This includes goods from both sides of the Green Line.

    One source said the EU’s approach suggested that it was likely to extend the ban to foods manufactured in Israel proper using produce grown in settlements. That would effectively bar Israel’s food industry from exporting to Europe. To counter the ban, companies would have to create two production lines, with goods designated for Europe using only ingredients sourced from within Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

    “This is an illogical expense for the entire industry. The agriculture, foreign and economy ministries are trying to keep the EU from toughening its stance in conversations in Brussels. This is unquestionably a very significant tightening of restrictions in exports to Europe. We are cautiously optimistic, but if the move goes forward Israel must adapt to European regulations,” one source said.

    In 2012, the EU stopped recognizing the area beyond the Green Line as Israeli. Exports from this area did not receive the import duty benefits of Israel’s free-trade agreement with the EU.

    But different EU agencies interpreted this decision differently. In 2013 the EU stopped recognizing Agriculture Ministry supervision of organic agriculture in the West Bank and banned the import of this produce on the grounds that because it was unsupervised it posed a danger to public health.

    A workaround was found for these goods, through July 2015: Companies registered in Palestinian towns would buy the produce and export it to Europe, under the supervision of a Swiss firm.

    In February, the EU decided to stop recognizing Agriculture Ministry veterinary supervision beyond the Green Line, from September 1. That means Israel will have to stop exporting poultry and other animal products from the territories to EU markets.

    Israel exported $36 million in processed meat products to Europe last year.

    Off Tov, which exports chicken products to Europe, will set up different production lines for chickens raised in the settlements and those raised within the Green Line. A European delegation came to observe the setup last month.

    Last week, the Agriculture Ministry’s veterinary services sent a letter to dairies, instructing them to separate raw milk from the settlements from that produced within Israel proper.

    In opposing the planned sanctions, Israel argues that they will hurt Palestinian workers, for example at dairies in the Jordan Valley, and damage Israeli-Palestinian relations.

    In the meantime, Israel plans to increase agricultural exports to Russia, in the wake of Moscow’s restrictions on European imports.

  • West Bank clashes intensify amid Gaza war

    RAMALLAH, West Bank — On the night and early morning of July 11-12, the cities of the West Bank and Arab towns inside the Green Line experienced violent confrontations, including at checkpoints and Israeli military camps, in a scene not seen for several years.

  • Report: EU won’t import poultry from settlements -

    By Haaretz | May 22, 2014

    The European Union recently informed Israel’s Agriculture Ministry that it does not recognize the ministry’s veterinary supervision beyond the Green Line and thus refuses to import poultry and eggs from West Bank settlements, the Israeli site Walla reported.

    The restriction on such imports is in line with a footnote within the EU guidelines that went into effect in January, restricting business and trade with Israeli entities located in the West Bank. The EU informed Israel that as a result, poultry imported from settlements would not be recognized as having undergone the required veterinary supervision.

    According to the report, Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir was surprised by the notification and assured Israeli veterinary supervision beyond the 1967 borders is no different than within. It also notes that only 5 percent of the poultry produced by Israel originates in the settlements.

    Jerusalem and Brussels have been in contact in recent weeks to try and resolve the issue, and an Israeli official is quoted by Walla as saying it is one of the “strangest diplomatic disputes” he has encountered.


  • Putting the Green Line on the map | JPost | Israel News

    ❝The headlines of last week’s Jewish Chronicle in Britain highlighted a new intra-community conflict concerning Israel and the peace process. Pro-Israel pro-peace groups had circulated a petition to all of the Jewish and Zionist organizations, requesting them to “sign on the Green Line” as a statement of support for the peace process. They argued that, given the fact that the Green Line was the de facto border separating Israel from the West Bank – both prior to and after the Six Day War – it was only right that it should become more prominent in the debate about Israel.

  • Germany conditions high-tech, science grants on settlement funding ban -

    Haaretz, By Barak Ravid | Jan. 23, 2014

    The German government is conditioning continued grants to Israeli high-tech companies, as well as the renewal of a scientific cooperation agreement, on the inclusion of a territorial clause stating that Israeli entities located in West Bank settlements or East Jerusalem will not be eligible for funding. Israel fears the German move will lead other European Union member states to follow suit.

    The German decision represents a significant escalation in European measures against the settlements. While the Horizon 2020 scientific cooperation agreement, which Israel signed with the European Union a few weeks ago, prohibited EU funding for academic research conducted in the settlements, Berlin has now extended the funding ban to private companies located over the Green Line. Moreover, the boycott against the settlements has now spread from EU institutions in Brussels to individual EU members.

    A senior Foreign Ministry official said that given the “special relationship” between Israel and Germany and the fact that Germany is considered Israel’s best friend in Europe, any Israeli consent to Germany’s demands is liable to set a precedent for all of Europe. “Germany will set an example for the rest of the world,” he said.

    “We also want to prevent a situation in which every decision made by the European Commission in Brussels is automatically adopted by all 28 member states,” he added, referring to the commission’s insistence on a territorial clause in Horizon 2020. Since the Horizon agreement was signed two months ago, Germany is the first country to demand a similar clause in its bilateral agreements with Israel.

    Senior Israeli government officials, who asked to remain anonymous, said Jerusalem is currently negotiating with Berlin over two agreements that would funnel money from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research to Israeli academic institutions and high-tech companies.

    The first agreement, which promotes cooperation between German and Israeli scientists, was signed in the 1970s and has been periodically renewed ever since. Under this agreement, Germany awards 12 million shekels ($3.4 million) in grants to joint projects conducted by researchers at German and Israeli universities.

    However, something major has changed since the agreement was last renewed: Israel upgraded an institution located in the West Bank settlement of Ariel from a college to a university. Senior German officials informed their Israeli colleagues several months ago that German universities had been pressuring the federal ministry not to cooperate with Israeli research institutions in the West Bank.

    Due to this pressure, the ministry decided that when the agreement came up for renewal, it would demand a new clause forbidding any money to be given to academic institutions in the settlements. In other words, researchers from Ariel University won’t be able to apply for grants, and this must be made clear to them, the German officials told their Israeli counterparts.

    The clause Berlin wants to add to the agreement already exists in another bilateral agreement – the 1986 pact that established the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development. That clause says: “Projects sponsored by the Foundation in Israel shall be conducted only within the geographic areas under the jurisdiction of the State of Israel prior to June 5, 1967.”

    The Germans also want to include this clause in another bilateral agreement that involves much more substantial sums of money. This agreement, between the German federal ministry and Israel’s Economy Ministry, provides German funding for industrial and applied research and development – in other words, funding for private Israeli high-tech firms and start-ups.

    This agreement  in fact isn’t up for renewal anytime soon, but the Germans are nevertheless demanding the immediate inclusion of a territorial clause in the calls for applications that would forbid grants to companies with any connection to West Bank settlements or East Jerusalem. Last week, representatives from the German ministry met with Economy Ministry officials to discuss the issue.

    Thus far, Israel has refused to add the 1986 clause to either agreement. As an alternative, the Germans proposed using the wording included in Horizon 2020 to prohibit funding for activities in the territories. They also agreed that the revised pact could include the same Israeli reservation that was appended to Horizon 2020 – that the agreement doesn’t predetermine the final-status borders, as these are subject to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But Israel has so far rejected this suggestion, too, fearing it would set a precedent for bilateral agreements that would quickly be adopted by the European Union’s other 27 members, and by other countries as well.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin has ordered his ministry’s staff to begin intensive negotiations with the German government, first on the scientific cooperation agreement and then on the high-tech agreement. The goal is to complete the negotiations within a few weeks, before the joint meeting of the Israeli and German cabinets that is due to take place in Jerusalem in about a month.

    “Our goal is to find a different solution than that of Horizon 2020, and to obtain softened wording,” the senior Foreign Ministry official said.

    Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On responded to the news with a warning to Netanyahu, calling on him to freeze settlement construction.

    “The Netanyahu government is celebrating like they are on the Titanic and ignoring the huge European iceberg that’s coming at them – and it’s an irritable iceberg,” began Gal-On, “Every so often the Europeans warn Netanyahu that continued settlement construction and expansion is against international law, and as a result of that it is likely to exacerbate the European boycott policy, which will severely hurt the Israeli economy and exports.”

  • Dutch engineering giant cancels East Jerusalem project
    Barak Ravid
    Haaretz, 6th September 2013

    Dutch infrastructure giant Royal HaskoningDHV announced Friday that it has decided to withdraw from a project it planned with the Jerusalem municipality because it will be built over the Green Line.

    Two weeks ago, Haaretz reported that the Dutch government has asked the company, Holland’s largest engineering company to rethink its participation the sewage treatment plant because the project was based on the Palestinian side of the 1967 border, and that this would violate international law.

    In a statement issued Friday, the Dutch company said that it had “advised the client it has decided to terminate the contract for the Kidron wastewater treatment plant project.” It added that “the project is in the early stages of the preliminary design phase.”

    Royal HaskoningDHV carries out its work with the highest regard for integrity and in compliance with international laws and regulations," it stated. “In the course of the project, and after due consultation with various stakeholders, the company came to understand that future involvement in the project could be in violation of international law. This has led to the decision of Royal HaskoningDHV to terminate its involvement in the project.”

    The Dutch government warned Royal HaskoningDHV about the possible consequences of carrying out projects for Israeli companies in East Jerusalem or the West Bank, Haaretz reported last month.

    Dutch Foreign Ministry officials told Royal HaskoningDHV that such a project would violate international law, leading the company to consider pulling out of the project to avoid financial, legal and image problems.

    In the project, a sewage treatment plant would be built to battle the pollution in the Kidron stream, which runs from the Mount of Olives and the village of Silwan in East Jerusalem toward the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and the Dead Sea. The plant is to be built in Area C, under full Israeli military and civilian control.

    A senior Israeli Foreign Minstry official told Haaretz that in the past two weeks there have been discussions with the Dutch government in an effort to solve the crisis, including talks with the Netherlands’ ambassador in Tel Aviv, Caspar Veldkamp. The Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands, Haim Divon, has also held talks with senior officials at the Dutch Foreign Ministry. At this stage it’s still unclear if the efforts by Israeli diplomats will lead to the resumption of the project. 

    Two weeks ago, Haaretz reported that The Netherlands’ government contacted Royal HaskoningDHV and recommended that it reconsider taking part in the project. The project was supposed to involve Mati, a subsidiary of Hagihon, the municipality’s water and sewage company. In the project, a sewage treatment plant would be built to battle the pollution in the Kidron stream, which runs from the Mount of Olives and the village of Silwan in East Jerusalem toward the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and the Dead Sea. The plant is to be built in Area C, under full Israeli military and civilian control.

    Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said in response that the project meets all the requirements of Israeli and international law. “The decision of the Dutch company to back away from the project indicates that political pressure that has nothing to do with law was applied to it,” Palmor said. “The result of the intimidation and harassment of the company is that Palestinian residents will be denied an important public service. It is hard to see how this serves a European interest.”

    PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi welcomed the company’s move, saying, “This project deepens Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, consolidates its occupation of the West Bank and constitutes another obstacle to the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state in the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

    “I commend the Dutch government for translating its opposition to Israel’s disastrous settlement policy into action, which is in line with EU policy, and for urging Royal HaskoningDHV to end its participation in this illegal project,” said Dr. Ashrawi.

    “We call on international corporations to terminate their projects and activities with links to the military occupation and to the illegal settlements."


  • Israel News - Haaretz Israeli News source

    A niche industry is developing in the West Bank, with Israeli companies organizing tours for independent travelers wishing to see what life is really like beyond the Green Line. Haaretz joins the day-trippers.

    Our day begins with a stroll through the Aida refugee camp, a few kilometers north of Bethlehem, where we get our first close-up view of the separation fence and a short lecture from our Palestinian guide, Tamer, on the history of the occupation. From there we proceed to the Church of the Nativity, making a brief detour along the way so Tamer can point out the political graffiti murals painted around the town by British street artist Banksy.

    After a break for lunch at a local restaurant, we head to Jericho, which claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, for a tour of its archaeological attractions along with some shopping. From there, it’s on to Qasr el-Yahud, the site on the Jordan River where Jesus is believed to have been baptized. Back in our minibus, we drive through olive grove orchards to the village of Taibeh, for a tour of its well-known brewery, winding down with a visit to Yasser Arafat’s tomb in Ramallah, a stroll through the bustling downtown, and drinks at a cafe popular among Palestinian high society.

    The tour, aptly titled Best of the West Bank, is part of a new and budding Israeli niche industry: organized tours to the West Bank that include not only the mandatory Christian sites, but also some politics and culture thrown in for good measure.

    Abraham Tours, a Jerusalem-based tour operator that caters to independent travelers and offers this particular tour once a week, is the latest to hop on the bandwagon, but it’s certainly not alone: Green Olive Tours, based near Tel Aviv, already sensed a potential business opportunity a few years ago. Other providers have been operating out of East Jerusalem even longer, but prefer not to be called Israeli.

  • The Israeli occupation the world forgot: the Golan Heights | +972 Magazine

    Earlier this month, The Atlantic published “2011: The Year in Photos.” It included a picture of Palestinian protesters climbing the fence that separates, according to The Atlantic, the “Israel-Syria border… near Majdal Shams.” The caption explained that Majdal Shams is located in “northern Israel.”

    Imagine the fury if mainstream media outlets referred to the occupied West Bank as “Judea and Samaria.” That would be equivalent to calling the Golan Heights, which also lies beyond the Green Line, “northern Israel.” Calling the Golan “northern Israel” tacitly legitimizes the 1981 Israeli annexation, which has been rejected by the United Nations on numerous occasions in numerous resolutions and goes unrecognized by the international community.

  • Israeli lawmaker: Amend West Bank law to let settlers defend property with live fire
    Le droit de tirer (sur les Palestiniens, bien sûr)

    By Jonathan Lis

    Settlers should have the same right to defend their property under the so-called Dromi Law as Israelis who live within the Green Line, MK Orit Strock ‏(Habayit Hayehudi‏) said Tuesday.

    Instead, she charged, their rights are restricted by the Israel Defense Forces’ rules of engagement.

    She is therefore demanding that the rules be changed to allow settlers to confront “nationalist attacks” against Jewish property with live fire. The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee will hold a special hearing to examine how the law is applied in the West Bank.

  • Israeli lawmaker: Amend West Bank law to let settlers defend property with live fire - Diplomacy & Defense - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper

    Settlers should have the same right to defend their property under the so-called Dromi Law as Israelis who live within the Green Line, MK Orit Strock ‏(Habayit Hayehudi‏) said Tuesday.

    Instead, she charged, their rights are restricted by the Israel Defense Forces’ rules of engagement.

    She is therefore demanding that the rules be changed to allow settlers to confront “nationalist attacks” against Jewish property with live fire. The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee will hold a special hearing to examine how the law is applied in the West Bank.

    The Dromi Law absolves a person who shoots a burglar from criminal liability. Since it’s part of the Penal Code, it should apply to Jewish residents of the West Bank as well. In practice, however, the IDF has issued stringent rules of engagement for the West Bank so as to prevent friction between Jews and Palestinians.

    Strock said she had obtained a copy of the orders the IDF issues to settlement security officers, and “they say it’s permitted to shoot only in a situation of certain danger to life. The Dromi Law, by contrast, says you are allowed to drive off a person who threatens either your property or your person − including by shooting [at him]. When I contacted the military advocate general and asked him why he had decided to limit the ability of [West Bank] residents to respond with gunfire even though it’s permitted by law, he responded that it’s the military commander’s right to restrict something that the law permits.”

  • Landscapes of the Green Line of Cyprus: Healing the Rift.

    by Dr. Anna Grichting

    The UN controlled Green Line occupies approximately 3% of the land mass of the island of Cyprus. Frozen in a military status quo for the past 35 years, this strip of land swallows up abandoned rural villages, agricultural lands that lie fallow, and stone buildings that crumble in the historic city of Nicosia. On the up side, this landscape has escaped the construction boom on both sides of the Green Line, meadows have recovered from the contamination with pesticides and artificial fertilizers, hillside forests have been preserved, and wildlife has been allowed to flourish. Similar to other military buffer zones worldwide, the most salient example being the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the Green Line has, due to its isolation, become really “green”, that is, it has become a haven for biodiversity. The year 2010 being the International Year of Biodiversity - as designated by the United Nations - as well as the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Cyprus, leads us to reflect on how this UN controlled Buffer Zone, could be transformed from a military dividing line into a new landscape of cultural and biological diversity[1], and this through a process that brings together the communities on both sides in a common project for an ecologically and socially sustainable future.

    #frontières #murs #chypre

  • Ça n’aura pas traîné: Israel’s Palestinian-only buses ’torched’

    Unknown assailants have set fire to two buses which Israel began operating as Palestinians-only lines to be used by Palestinian labourers travelling between the West Bank and Israel.

    “Two buses were apparently set on fire but we are looking into all possibilities,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP news agency on Tuesday, saying the incident took place in the Arab-Israeli town of Kfar Qassem which lies very close to the Green Line.

    Police sources quoted by army radio said the buses had been torched as a protest against the new transportation system which came into effect on Monday.

  • 29 octobre 1956, massacre de Kafr Qasim :

    The Kafr Qasim massacre took place in the Israeli Arab village of Kafr Qasim situated on the Green Line, at that time, the de facto border between Israel and the West Bank on October 29, 1956. It was carried out by the Israel Border Police (Magav) and resulted in 48 Arab civilians dead, including 6 women and 23 children aged 8–17. Arab sources usually give the death toll as 49, as they include the unborn child of one of the women.

    The border policemen who were involved in the shooting were brought to trial and found guilty and sentenced to prison terms. The Israeli court found that the command to kill civilians was “blatantly illegal”. Two officers were sentenced to 17 and 15 years imprisonment, later reduced to 5 years, and served a short term.

  • Israeli Minister admits state subsidizes public transportation for settlers - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

    Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz confirmed Monday that the state subsidizes bus tickets within West Bank settlements, causing them to be cheaper than tickets for rides within the Green Line.

    According to Katz, the move was intended to incentivize settlers to use armor-protected public transportation within the West Bank, which would reduce state spending on stationing military and security escorts for non-armored private vehicles. Katz also stated that the reduction of prices has increased use of public transportation by nearly 80% in the last decade.

    Ah, si c’est une mesure écologique, alors...

  • La «gauche israëlienne» dans ses œuvres:

    Left-leaning youth movement to initiate new West Bank settlement - Haaretz

    The left-leaning Bnei Hamoshavim youth movement is planning to build a new settlement for its graduates in the Jordan Valley, Army Radio reported on Thursday.

    At a meeting between the movement’s secretary general, Eyal Uzon, and the head of the Jordan Valley regional council, David Alhiani, himself a Bnei Hamoshavim graduate, the movement was offered the abandoned Gadi military base, near Moshav Mesua, which is beyond the Green Line.

    #israël #palestine