Europe and the US underwrite Israel’s occupation

by Yaniv Reich on December 15, 2009

One reason that Israel has such an easy time maintaining the occupation is because they don’t face the costs of doing so. Of course, the Fourth Geneva Convention stipulates that Israel must provide for the people living under its military occupation. But for over a decade now, since the Oslo Accords were signed in the early nineties, the US and European governments have largely picked up the bill for Israel, which usefully frees up Israel’s own resources for the continued colonization of the land that is supposed to become Palestine.

The Financial Times carries today a powerful op-ed by Lord Patten, former European Commissioner for External Affairs and co-chair of the International Crisis Group, condemning this financial role in maintaining the “blood-soaked” occupation.

At present, international donors meet most of the bill for the consequences of occupation that should be met under the Geneva convention by Israel. Over the last year, the cost to the EU and its members has risen to about €1bn.

How long can donors justify this expenditure? If Israel continues, as its prime minister says it will, to build settlements, making an agreement on a viable Palestinian state all but impossible, should the international community simply shrug its shoulders and write more cheques? The money that I spent in Palestine on behalf of European voters and taxpayers over five years as a European commissioner has drained away into the blood-soaked sand. Many projects funded by European taxpayers have been reduced to rubble by the Israeli Defence Forces. Is Europe’s role in the region to be the paymaster for intransigence and the use of disproportionate force?

(Thanks to Mondoweiss for once again pointing out a fascinating story.)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 philipblue December 16, 2009 at 3:24 am

Ah, Chris Patten, erstwhile member of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet…. Good to see you moving over to a more enlightened point of view!

2 Yaniv Reich December 16, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I grant him being right on this particular point, which of course suggests nothing about his correctness on any other.

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