The European Union must be clueless. That's the only way to explain its newest decision regarding Israel's borders.
The European Union has published a guideline for all 28 member states forbidding any funding, cooperation, awarding of scholarships, research funds or prizes to anyone residing in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The regulation, which goes into effect on Friday, requires that any agreement or contract signed by an EU country with Israel include a clause stating that the settlements are not part of the State of Israel and therefore are not part of the agreement.
This is the same EU that has been reluctant to designate Hezbollah, an organization that has used suicide bombings, plane hijackings, and rockets targeting civilian populations to achieve its objectives, a terrorist organization.
The EU's policy that territory outside the green line is not Israeli is not new, but the astounding precision with which they intend to implement this policy is.
“They crossed a line,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel Tuesday. “That the EU won’t sign an agreement with Ariel University [in the West Bank] is no secret. But now they are going to force the Hebrew University to promise that no scientist working on a program [that enjoys EU cooperation or funding] lives over the Green Line,” including in apartment complexes down the street from the university campus on Mount Scopus — “or in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, which has been Jewish a bit longer than the EU.”
The new EU regulation applies to any territory outside of the 1949 armistice line, and that includes the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The new directive requires that Israel accept the EU's position that these territories don't belong to Israel and are therefore illegally occupied.
Essentially, the EU is telling Israel to deny its rights to the Western Wall, the only remnant of the Holy Temple. It is considered the holiest site in Judaism and is a pilgrimage site for Jews around the world.
In an act of sheer idiocy, the EU made this announcement on a Jewish holiday known as Tisha B'Av, which commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples and is considered the saddest day of the year. On a day when Jews were remembering the Temples, this is a surefire way to anger Israelis.
And the EU has certainly succeeded in that. This announcement has united Israelis of all political persuasions, even the most dovish members of the Knesset.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rightfully blasted the announcement, saying, "We will not except any external edicts on our borders."
In response to the report, Netanyahu said that the European Union should focus on ending the civil war in Syria or halting Iran's nuclear program, rather that exerting energy on Israel' settlements.
"These problems are little more urgent," Netanyahu said. "They should these first."
"As the prime minister of Israel, I will not let anyone harm the hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, in the Golan Heights, or in Jerusalem – our united capital," he said. "The issue of borders will be determined only in direct negotiations between the sides."
Congratulations, EU. You have officially joined John Kerry on the list of those who have no clue what's happening in the Middle East right now.