ECI to EU Foreign Ministers: - Help save the Peace Process in the Middle East

Brussels, October 12th, 2012 – As the Foreign Ministers of the European Union meet in Luxembourg on Monday 15th October, they can help save the Peace Process in the Middle East by firmly rejecting a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state at the UN next month.

In a letter addressed to the EU Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, and the EU Foreign Ministers on Thursday, ECI urged the EU leaders to make it perfectly clear that they must only support a negotiated solution to Middle East conflict and can under no circumstances accept a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state at the UN. EU financial assistance to the PA should be conditional on their commitment to keeping the agreements made under the Oslo Accords: these prevent either side from taking unilateral action.

This is ECI’s message in a letter written to the 27 EU Foreign Ministers just a few days before they are scheduled to meet in Luxembourg.  There they will try to unite behind a common EU policy on a Palestinian statehood bid which is expected to be debated at the UN in New York in November.

”In a situation in which the whole of the Middle East is in turmoil, the EU cannot afford more instability in the region”, the letter reads. ”The EU now has a special responsibility to monitor the situation, given that it is the single largest institutional donor to the Palestinian Authority, providing aid and assistance worth more than 600 million Euros a year.”

It is widely believed that without the support of EU taxpayers, the Palestinian economy would collapse overnight.
”This unsustainable financial situation hardly qualifies PA for statehood”, the letter observes. ”Furthermore, the fact that the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas,  controls only half of the territory that he claims for his proposed new state, seriously calls  into question his right to speak on behalf the Palestinian people.”

The Fatah leader, Abbas, has not been welcomed in Gaza since rival group Hamas effectively kicked out the Fatah leadership in 2007.

The letter concludes by stating that ”accepting an upgrade of the PA membership at the UN at this time would in fact kill the peace process and alienate the Israelis and the Palestinians from each other even further."

The conditionality of EU funding of the PA has been an ongoing debate at the EU. In 2005, ECI demanded that the EU re-evaluate its funding to the PA, by asking for an internal EU audit. Despite initial reservations, the EU Commission finally froze funding to the PA in December 2005, quoting arguments made in the ECI report. However, in the following month, January 2006, the EU branded terrorist organisation Hamas won the elections in Gaza due to the widespread corruption of Fatah. In 2007 the Fatah leaders were driven out of Gaza.

-’The EU should avoid repeating the mistakes of the past by uncritically and unconditionally funding and supporting the Palestinian Authority, but needs to call them to account’, ECI Director Tomas Sandell said in a statement in Brussels on Thursday night. ’There is no better time to do so than at the critical EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.’

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In writing this report, we have just returned from the UN in New York where we have spent a whole week praying, educating and advocating for Israel. It has been a most remarkable week, with many important meetings, and this month’s report will focus primarily on the outcome of the Opening Session of the 67th General Assembly and the PA statehood bid.  The week was a great success, but we need to stay alert, as the threats to Israel have not gone away, even though the world is now better informed about them than ever before.

Israel gets its message across on Iranian nuclear threat
– PA membership vote expected in November

New York – Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu managed to get the full attention of the international community as he spoke in the UN General Assembly on Thursday, 27th September. In his address, he explained in great detail the danger of allowing  the Iranians to get a nuclear bomb. The speech was a clear PR success as it made headlines around the world. His graphic illustration of “the red line” was displayed in print media as well as on TV. His message of warning came out in clear contrast to the apocalyptic vision of Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian leader spoke enthusiastically about coming world chaos and disaster which would usher in the 12th Imam and a new Islamic world order.
Most of world media declined to report this part of his message but for those leaders who listened, it became crystal clear that he poses an imminent danger, not only to Israel, but to all mankind.

Because of the imminent threat from Iran and the upcoming US elections, the PA statehood bid got less attention this year. According to some media reports, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas had promised to use his UN address to finally acknowledge Jewish connections to Jerusalem, but instead accused Israel of ethnic cleansing. The PA is determined to continue its push for upgrade to UN membership. In order to avoid interference in the US Presidential elections, the vote is now expected later in November, possibly on the 29th, in connection with the anniversary of the UN Partition Plan.
Although a vote for non-member observer status may seem trivial to some, the ramifications for a yes vote would be detrimental to Israel. To quote PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat:
“Yes, the occupation will continue, the settlements will continue, the crimes of the settlers may continue, but there will be consequences. After the UN vote, Palestine will become a country under occupation. Israel will not be able to say it is a disputed area.”

ECI will continue to reach out to governments on your behalf and plans to be back in New York in time for the expected vote.

Whereas the campaign for PA statehood is being sponsored by oil money and indirectly also by the EU (your tax money), our work can only be sustained by your generosity.*

* Please note that the EU is the single largest institutional donor to the PA (over €600 million per year). In a recent report, the Israeli Government accused the PA of misusing the funds for political objectives, rather than for their intended objectives.

ECI prays “behind enemy lines”

New York – A main component of the ECI mission to the UN was   prayer. Due to some exceptional circumstances, members of the ECI delegation were able to effectively pray “behind enemy lines” at the headquarters of the Iranian delegation at the Warwick Hotel, just a few rooms away from Ahmadinejad. The Warwick Hotel was the only hotel in New York which was willing to host the Iranian delegation, which is now coming under increasing pressure from the international community.

Media reports suggested that the week in New York was a disaster for Ahmadinejad, as one member of his entourage defected and the Iranian currency hit an all-time low. As the international community increases pressure on the Iranian regime, many now hope that the Iranian opposition will be able to topple Ahmadinejad in time and set the nation on a new political course by giving up their nuclear ambitions.

Colombian president stands up for Israel at the UN

New York – While a majority, some say 150 of the 193 UN member states, are expected to vote for a unilateral declaration of a PA state, there are those who have the courage to stand beside Israel.  In a luncheon hosted by the America Jewish Committee (AJC), on Thursday, Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, received a statesman award for his courage, vision and leadership in refusing to accept a unilateral declaration, despite pressure from other Latin American countries.

Being a Security Council member, his support for Israel has been vital. In his speech he explained why he was willing to stand with Israel.
‘For me is not about courage, but about common sense’, he said. ‘Peace can only come through negotiation, not through manipulation.’ After the luncheon, ECI had the opportunity to greet him and thank him for his support.

At the luncheon, several members of the small Colombian Jewish community explained that the greatest supporters for Israel in Colombia are Evangelical Christians. On the day of the statehood bid, Christians had gathered outside the presidential palace to express their support for Israel. Since the Jewish community in Colombia is only a few thousand strong, the need for strategic partnerships is vital. Just as in so many other countries, the Jewish community in Colombia has found a partner in the Evangelical community.

Africa opens up as ECI meets with government leaders

New York – The links to Africa were further solidified as a small delegation met with the President of Benin Thomas Yayi Boni. Despite a hectic program with many bilateral meetings with other African Heads of State, the President took time to meet with ECI.

In the meeting, the President expressed his support for the work of ECI and welcomed us to Africa. ECI has been scheduled to visit the African Union for some time, but with an open invitation from one of the leaders of the African Union, it is clear that now is the time to go.

Whilst in New York, ECI also had other meetings with African officials and diplomats to explain the importance of standing with Israel at this critical time, with a nuclear threat and diplomatic war. At the same time, a delegation from Christians for Israel, consisting of ECI Chairman Harald Eckert, together with ECI Honorary Chairman, Willem Glashouwer and EU Liaison Officer, Andrew Tucker, visited Uganda. While in Kampala, the team managed to meet with the Chairman of the Ugandan Parliament who is also true friend of Israel. Christians for Israel is increasingly active in Africa where they have also assisted members of parliament to visit Israel.

ECI’s vision is to bring the Israel message “before kings and queens.” During the last few weeks, this mission has been accomplished in the most remarkable way. Thank you for standing with us in prayer and financial giving as we reach out to government leaders on your behalf.

The EU to discuss PA statehood bid at special meeting on October 15th

Brussels – The European Union will try to formulate a common position with regards to the Palestinian statehood bid at a special meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg on October 15th. The EU has so far failed to unite on a common position. EU Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton continues to push an anti-Israel agenda but is being opposed by influential member states such as Germany, Netherlands and Poland as well as by many other member states in Eastern Europe.

Last time the issue came to a vote, eleven EU-member states voted for PA membership in UNESCO, with eleven member states abstaining and five voting against. The PA has met secretly with heads of EU missions in Jerusalem to seek their help in drafting a resolution for the UN General Assembly.

Christians can help Israel win the Diplomatic War
– Please sign up for Training Conference in Brussels in November

In an Opinion Editorial, which was published in the Times of Israel on Sunday, 23rd September (http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-christian-legions-can-win-israels-diplomatic-war ), Tomas Sandell wrote on how the diplomatic war against Israel can be won by mobilising Bible- believing Christians from all over the world. The case in Colombia (see previous article) again proves the case; where there is a growing Evangelical community, there are also friends of Israel.

The latest date for registration is October 22nd, 2012. For more information please write to info@ec4i.org


In the September report there were two mistakes. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon visited the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran (not Aligned Movement). Mr Danny Ayalon is the Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel (not Deputy Prime Minister). We apologise for the mistakes.

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Editor Tomas Sandell tomas.sandell@pp.inet.fi