A recent clash on a hilltop in Samaria may have been the first shot fired in a war for Judea and Samaria, and the European Union (EU) has already declared the Palestinian Authority to be the winner.
Jewish settlers and Palestinians clashed at the Jewish town of Homesh on Wednesday.The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service reported two Palestinians were wounded. Israeli sources reported that one Israeli was injured from rock-throwing.
Yesh Din, a left-wing NGO, reported that the hostilities came after representatives from the EU paid a solidarity visit to the Arab residents of the nearby village of Burqa.
The visit by the EU diplomats was led by members of the anti-Israel NGOs Yesh Din, Peace Now, and Emek Shaveh. All of the organizations receive funding from foreign sources including the EU.
“Diplomats from several EU and other states visited the Burqa village council earlier today to learn about the injustice and danger the villagers face at the hands of violent settlers from Homesh who are illegally squatting on private village lands seized from them 45 years ago,” Yesh Din tweeted.
The EU also tweeted about the visit, saying, “Diplomats also visited the Palestinian village of Burqa, where they heard about repeated attacks by settlers on residents from nearby settlement outposts, including the Homesh outpost.”
Established in 1978, Homes was “disestablished” in 2005 along with four other Jewish communities in Shomron (Samaria) as part of the Gush Katif expulsion. The Israeli government declared it illegal for Jews to enter the sites but throughout the years, multiple attempts were made to resettle the community of Homesh. In 2007, an Israeli court ruled that it was not illegal for Jews to enter. Three months ago, the Knesset voted to repeal articles of the 2005 law banning Israelis from residing in the four communities in northern Samaria—Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim. In a move to block the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court issued an injunction against this.
The Biden State Department criticized the move, saying it was “inconsistent with both former Prime Minister Sharon’s written commitment to the Bush Administration in 2004 and the current Israeli government’s commitments to the Biden Administration.”
“Advancing Israeli settlements in the West Bank is an obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution,” the US statement added.
Last week, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox signed an order on Thursday permitting Jews to enter the site and declaring the Homesh area part of the Samaria Regional Council. Jews are still prohibited from entering the other three areas.
Jews began doing initial infrastructure work to prepare to re-establish the community of Homesh on an adjacent hilltop which is state-owned land with no previous claims of ownership. The work was halted by the IDF which claimed that the necessary government permits had not been issued.
The EU diplomat pictured in the tweet is Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, who represents the European Union in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Von Burgsdorff condemned Jews living in Judea and Samaria in a statement on Wednesday, saying, “There is no such thing as Area B and C, it’s all Palestine.”
His statement is deeply disturbing as Homesh is located in Area C, a territory that is under the full jurisdiction of Israel. Some 400,000 Jews live in Area C and if it becomes a Palestinian state (as von Burgsdorff explicitly stated was the EU’s intent) then nearly half a million Jews will either find themselves living under a PLO or Hamas-run government or, more likely, be ethnically cleansed as was done when the Israeli government abandoned Gush Katif in 2005.
Naomi Kahn, the International Division Director for Regavim, an NGO that monitors construction in Judea and Samaria, explained that Von Burgsdorff was stating EU policy, even though that policy contradicted their obligation to uphold the Oslo Accords.
“The statement by the EU representative was a violation of international law and a violation of the Oslo Accords, of which the EU is a signatory,” Khan said. “But this is coming as part of an ongoing and nefarious policy of cooperation between the EU and the PA. In 2009, the PA officially rejected the Oslo Accords, which is ironic because it was the Accords that brought the PA into existence. Instead, they publicly adopted the Fayyad Plan, which was officially adopted by the EU. This was clearly stated in a document that was leaked last summer in which the EU stated that they would pursue a policy in which the status of Area A is the same as Area C.”
The Fayad plan, proposed by former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayad, calls for unilaterally establishing a de facto Palestinian State in all of Judea and Samaria without negotiations with Israel. This contravenes a key provision of the Oslo Interim Agreement, according to which: “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent-status agreement.” His plan also contravened the Oslo Accords by calling for massive Palestinian construction and development in Area C.
Within ten months, the plan was endorsed by the Obama administration and the EU, which called on the UN to declare a Palestinian state.
Ironically, the Fayad Plan was rejected by the PA since it was seen as co opting their authority and also because it included non-violent coexistence with Israel as its final goal.
“EU endorsement of the Fayad plan has led to an EU policy of funding massive construction in Area C in contravention of the Oslo Accords,” Kahn said. “They are openly stating that they no longer honor their signed obligations in an international treaty. By openly stating that there is no Area A, B, or C, they are saying openly that they support illegal Palestinian activity that undermines the Oslo Accords and Israeli security needs.”
“The EU is saying quite openly and unequivocally that there will be no negotiations, Israel has no right to express their security concerns, and that the entirety of Judea and Samaria is already a Palestinian State,” Khan said.