Breaking news - Terror attack in Tel Aviv leaves four dead. PA leader: ”Israel is reaping repercussions.”

Jerusalem - Hamas leader Ismail Haniyehhas praised the terrorist attack last night in Tel Aviv as a "heroic" act and added that he prays for the “hero's” soul. This is Hamas, a terrorist organisation, but what about the Palestinian Authority, which receives EU funding and is the peace partner that the EU expects Israel to negotiate with?

The Palestinian Authority's political party, Fatah, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, chose to make a statement this morning that says that Israel was “reaping the repercussions" of its actions, i.e. Israel was to blame. Terrorist attacks, no matter how horrific, are never condemned; terrorists have schools and streets named after them.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced outrage at Hamas’s celebration of the shooting, saying in a statement that he was “shocked that the leaders of Hamas have chosen to welcome this attack and some have chosen to celebrate it.” But, what about the Palestinian Authority's justification of violence? Will the UN Secretary General condemn that too?

The European Coalition for Israel recently presented a report to the EU's diplomatic service, EEAS, highlighting the issue of EU funding being used by the PA for further radicalisation and payments to prisoners who are convicted of terrorism charges and the need for this funding to be made conditional on the PA ceasing all forms of incitement and the payments to terrorism. (See next article.)

ECI director Tomas Sandell is currently in Jerusalem and has conveyed his condolences to the Israeli government. In a separate message to the EU ambassador to Israel, Mr Lars Faaborg-Andersen he has repeated the ECI demand that EU funding to the PA be frozen until the PA leadership clearly condemn these acts of terrorism.

ECI calls on the EU to cease payments to terrorists

Brussels - European Coalition for Israel has submitted a report to the European External Action Service, EU’s foreign service, requesting that all financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority be made conditional upon the PA ceasing all forms of incitement and radicalisation, including payments to convicted terrorists. The report was presented in partnership with the organisations ’International Legal Forum’ and ’Tous avec Nous’ from France at a meeting with EEAS on Wednesday 25th May 2016 in Brussels.

The official EEAS position is that the glorification of martyrdom by the PA, the payments of convicted murderers and terrorists and the glorification of violence in school textbooks do not amount to institutionalised incitement and radicalisation. This position was reaffirmed in the meeting, despite the numerous pieces of evidence presented. In his statement ECI legal counsel Andrew Tucker reminded the EU-official to learn from past mistakes. In 2005 ECI raised similar concerns with the European Commission who also then initially rejected the claims but later issued a freeze on all EU funding to the PA, quoting arguments made in the ECI position paper. But the action was too little too late as Hamas, just one month later was elected to government in Gaza on an anti-corruption ticket.

There is currently a growing concern in EU-member states about the PA’s misuse of EU taxpayers' money to incite hatred and radicalisation. ECI is committed to raising this issue in national parliaments as well as in the European Union. You can read the full press release here. The ECI delegation that met with EEAS consisted of ECI Legal Counsel Andrew Tucker and Brussels representative Ruth Isaac.

Singapore learns from ECI, as ECI learns from Singapore

Singapore - ECI has always had a soft spot for Asia, ever since its first visit to Tokyo, four years ago in connection with the presentation of the San Remo resolution in the parliament of Japan and to various church groups. But due to our many obligations in Europe and the United Nations there has been little time to visit countries in Asia. However, in mid May a small delegation was invited to Singapore to share about the unique work of ECI. The official host was Pastor Yang Tuck Yoongof the Cornerstone Community Church who has an interest both in Israel and in Europe. The church has purchased the historic Bible College of Wales in Swansea and now runs a Bible school that was once the base for the legendary Israel advocate and intercessor Rees Howells.

Many believers in Asia are familiar with Israel related ministries that focus on Bible studies or group travel to Israel but few had heard that one can also engage successfully with governments and international institutions in support for Israel through prayer, education and advocacy.

During the six-day visit Tomas Sandell had the opportunity to speak at four meetings at the Cornerstone community church and the team met with Christian ministry leaders as well as people connected to the government. ECI was also invited to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the state of Israel which came just a few weeks after the Prime Minister of Singapore had visited Israel. This was the first time that a Prime Minister from Singapore had made an official state visit to Israel.

Whereas Singapore could learn a few things from ECI, ECI and Western Christians in general, could learn even more from the Christian church in Singapore which has a unique impact and influence in society. This year Singapore celebrates its 50th anniversary. What started as a remote third world trading post has over the years become a world leader in finance and development. Many believe this is due to its Christian influence through the charismatic revival that swept the country in its formative years and its commitment to stand with Israel despite being surrounded by hostile nations.  During the visit many strategic connections were made and ECI is likely to return to Singapore and Asia in the not too distant future.

The ECI delegation consisted of ECI chairman Rudolf Geigy and his wife Elizabeth, board member Antti Hamalainen and Director Tomas Sandell. (Picture: ECI team together with Pastor Yang, behind a replica of the Bible College of Wales.)