Israel comes to our assistance as terror strikes at the heart of Europe

Paris - In the last two weeks we have heard a lot about “war and rumours of war”. For one whole week Brussels was in a lockdown and Europe is said to be “at war”.

Following the terrorist attack in Paris on November 13th, ECI European Director Perrine Dufoix has sent a letter of condolence to the President of France with the message that EU and Israel should fight terrorism together.

Many observers, including ECI, have been warning for years of the consequences of not facing the jihadist threat in time. We have pointed out that Israel has been at the frontline in this war against international terrorism for years without getting the proper support and sympathy from Europe. We have also warned that one day this same terror may strike in Europe.

Terror has struck in Europe before, most notably in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005, but the terrorist attacks in Paris on January 7th and again on November 13th have left many in a state of shock.

This is a wake up call to Europe and its political leaders. Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens has noted that “it is no longer just synagogues or Jewish museums that are the targets for the terrorists but mass gatherings and public places”. As the old saying goes: “It starts with the Jews but it never ends with the Jews.” Now we are all targets.

It should be crystal clear that Israel is our best ally in this global war against terrorism. Just one week after the Paris attack it was revealed that IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot had travelled to Brussels for secret meetings with Belgian security officials. According to the German magazine “Stern”, Israeli intelligence provided the crucial information that led German authorities to cancel a scheduled friendly soccer game between Germany and Netherlands at the Hanover stadium on November 17th.

As Israel has been facing regular terror attacks for months, the EU has responded by issuing new directives against Israel (products from the disputed territories) instead of offering help. However, it now seems that Europe is also “disputed territory” in this unfolding war among civilizations. Given the lack of support for Israel in Europe we can count ourselves lucky that Israel is willing to come to our aid.

ECI challenges EU labeling directive in Brussels 
- now the battle comes back to your own capital

Brussels - The European Coalition for Israel has challenged the legality of the EU guidelines for Israeli products from the disputed territories in a written position paper and in private meetings in Brussels during the week which led up to the publishing of the guidelines.

The formal decision was made by the European Council (Foreign Ministers of the EU member states) already in 2012 but was put on the shelf in order to be used at the right time to put political pressure on Israel. The ”right time” turned out to be on November 11th, one day after the 77th anniversary of “Kristallnacht”, the night when the Nazis destroyed thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses in Germany after having first been marked as ”Jewish.”

In Brussels EU officials have assured that the decision is only “a technicality”, but in discussions with senior official it has become clear that the EU is sending a political message to Israel.

The directive is a direct blow to some thirty thousand Palestinians who today work in Israeli businesses in the disputed territories.

Whereas the decision is now settled in Brussels, the directive is now sent to the member states where the respective governments are asked to implement the guidelines. But they can also refuse to do so - or simply put them on hold. Hungary and Greece have already indicated that they will challenge the labelling directive and Germany has also expressed its opposition. In the European Council only 16 Foreign Ministers (out of 28) have actively been pushing for the directive.

Let us hope there are leaders in Europe today who will follow their moral compass instead of giving in to intimidation and irrational directives that do not promote peace. ECI will shortly be in contact with the member state governments with a clear message to support Israel in this time of crisis.

To put it simply. The EU should label terrorists - not Israeli tomatoes.

ECI sends letter to the UN Security Council
- Israeli legislation is the best guarantee for minority rights in Jerusalem

New York - While Israel continues to face terrorist attacks inside its borders, at international institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union Israel faces a different war - known as “international lawfare”. Although this is a war of words, its consequences can be just as deadly as any terrorist attack.

After having neglected the legal history of the State of Israel for many years, the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, has recently taken an interest in the foundational documents behind the creation of the State of Israel and various historical precedents for regimes that provide protection for territories and their inhabitants.

ECI has for many years been raising awareness about the legal foundations of the State of Israel as it relates back to the San Remo Resolution of 1920. In 2012 ECI organized a lecture on this topic with Dr. Jacques Gauthier for ambassadors at the UN Security Council in New York.

In a written submission to the UN Secretary General and the 15 members of the UN Security Council dated  November 17th 2015, ECI provides the blueprint for the status of Jerusalem and the ”West Bank” under international law. The letter calls upon the Security Council to “respect the rights and obligations arising under all existing instruments, in particular the Mandate for Palestine and UN charter principles” and concludes that “Israeli legislation provides the most sophisticated and advanced system for protection of minority rights based on the rule of law in the region”.

In its closing statement ECI calls on the Security Council “to respect the rights of Israel as a sovereign UN Member State to negotiate a resolution of the conflict based on the rights, obligations and principles laid down in existing instruments”.

Local churches make a difference for Israel
 - Sion Church in Vasa, Finland

Vasa, Finland - ECI is only as strong as its own constituency, consisting of local Christians in Europe and around the world who stand behind Israel and ECI in prayer and by giving financially.

Last week Tomas Sandell joined the Sion Church in Vasa, Finland to share about the work of ECI and train activists to become more effective in their support for Israel.

In the evening Israeli ambassador to Finland,Dan Ashbel, joined the seminar where he spoke about the current challenges facing Israel.

Sion Church has been actively supporting Israel for many years and today its former chairman Fredrik Ekholm is the first ever Honorary Counsellor of Israel to Finland. By organizing a whole weekend about Israel, Pastor Stefan Sigfrids wants to take the message about Biblical support for Israel to a new generation of Christians.

Sion is one of many churches across Europe and the world that have decided to stand in solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people. We are proud to call them our friends!