8/15/2016

MONTHLY REPORT - AUGUST 2016


The month of July is a holiday period for most of Northern Europe and in mid July also the European institutions close down in Brussels. Still, the summer period is no holiday for the enemies of Israel and Europe. As this report will show, also during the holiday season Israel and our own continent are threatened by terrorist attacks. In addition to this Israel faces a new campaign of lawfare in the international diplomatic arena. Please would you stand with us as we stand with Israel during this summer.


 

Islamic summer of terror hits Europe

Brussels - As we compile this new Monthly report we have just witnessed an unprecedented period of Islamic terror in the heartland of Europe. This is not the right place for describing in detail the barbaric terror attacks in Nice, W├╝rzburg, Munich, Reutlingen, Istanbul or Saint-Etienne du-Rouvray. Increasingly, Europe is waking up to the grim reality of the Middle East, where Islamic terror, either in the form of suppressive authoritarian regimes or by barbaric terrorist groups like the Islamic State, is part of everyday life.

ECI has for many years been warning of the consequences of turning a blind eye to terror attacks in Israel by trying to justify these as a reaction to occupation. These explanations are now becoming obsolete as we face the same terror here in the heart of Europe. If we were to follow the logic of the reactions of the EU in the past, we would now simply have to sit down and negotiate with the terrorists, perhaps giving up some territories which at some point in time were part of the Islamic caliphate or simply submitting to the sword of Islam. This is not an alternative.

On the contrary, this is a time for Europe to discover its only true ally in the Middle East, the modern state of Israel, and learn from its long battle with radical Islam.

In the current migration debate it has been pointed out that we need to show Christian solidarity with the migrants who are fleeing the Middle East. In order for our continent to provide a safe haven for these, and other refugees, we need to make sure that Europe remains a Judeo-Christian continent and does not turn in to another Middle East.

Or, as Bret Stephens puts it in a recent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal – A civilization that does not believe in anything will ultimately submit to anything. In his brilliant article he points to the moral lessons that we can learn from Israel, namely, that identity can be a great preserver of liberty, and that free societies cannot survive through progressive accommodation to barbarians.



 

UNESCO conference leaves Jerusalem untouched as delegates flee chaotic Istanbul

Istanbul – The annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO came to an abrupt and dramatic close on Saturday 16th July as an attempted military coup left Istanbul in complete chaos. The meeting, which was to consider a Palestinian-Jordanian resolution to declare the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem an Islamic site with no connection to Judaism or Christianity, will resume on 24th October in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

This was at the end of several weeks of hard work by ECI and other international organisations in presenting the historical and legal facts about Jerusalem to the members of the UNESCO World Heritage committee. In a letter to selected members of the Committee, ECI founding director Tomas Sandell brought to their attention the fact that the Temple Mount has been the most holy site in Judaism for several thousand years.
“There can be no denial of the over 3000-year connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem”, he wrote ahead of the expected vote in Istanbul.

In a separate statement made at meetings in New York during the week of the expected vote, renowned international law scholar and legal expert on Jerusalem, Dr Jacques Gauthier stated:

“The historical and religious connections between the Jewish people and the Holy Places of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, were part of the claims presented on behalf of the Jewish people to the Principal Allied Powers on February 27, 1919 during the Paris Peace Conference. The Great Powers recognised these historical claims at the San Remo Conference of April 25, 1920 resulting in legal entitlements. These rights were then incorporated in the provision of the Mandate for Palestine approved by the Council of the League of Nations in July, 1922. The Mandate treaty specifies that 'recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country'.  These rights are now protected under international law and under the provision of Article 80 of the Charter of the United Nations, Gauthier explained.

His conclusion is that ”the UNESCO resolution violates the fundamental rights granted to the Jewish people in respect to the Holy Places in Jerusalem.

ECI will continue to monitor the situation as the UNESCO World Heritage Committee prepares to resume its meeting in Paris on October 24. More information about the meeting will be given in due course.


 

ECI steps up its legal work as the Palestinian Authority plans to sue the UK over the Balfour Declaration

 
Brussels – After rejecting any connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish people at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee last month, the Palestinian Authority now takes the international lawfare to another level by planning to sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration of 1917!

The Balfour Declaration, however, was not a legal document and hence cannot be subject to a lawsuit. The rights of the Jewish people to their national home in Israel were recognised in the San Remo resolution of 1920 and the Mandate for Palestine of 1922, which was unanimously adopted by the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations. These rights are preserved by Article 80 of the UN charter and denial of those rights would be inconsistent with the UN charter and international law.

It is perhaps symptomatic that the Palestinian Authority, while trying to secure international backing for a Palestinian state, is at the same time disputing any connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish people and in this last twist of events, even objecting to the right of a Jewish homeland in Israel. This current campaign of international lawfare and the continuous incitement to violence and hatred (which is now officially recognised by the Quartet) is a far cry from the notion of ”two states for two people living side by side in peace.”

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is now coming back to these fundamental questions:
-  Do the Jewish people belong in Israel or are they simply intruders and trespassers?
-  Do the Jewish people have a right to their own state or are the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo resolution and the Mandate for Palestine all flawed?

The answers to these fundamental questions will define the future of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and therefore the legal work of ECI is now of utmost importance.

Through the work of ECI over the last ten years, starting with the 90th anniversary of the San Remo conference in April 2010, we have managed to present the legal foundations of the Jewish state to governments and parliaments around the world. This work has been done in close cooperation with the brilliant legal minds of international scholars such asJacques Gauthier and Cynthia Wallace as well as our own legal counsel AndrewTucker.

Since 2014 we have expanded on this work through the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy at the UN, in order to improve understanding of the many contributions of Israel and the Jewish people to the international community. Explaining the legal foundations of the modern state of Israel and its important role in the UN has also contributed to the recognition of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur as a new official UN holiday.  As a result of this work (and the excellent work of the Israeli Permanent Mission to the UN) Israel is today stronger at the UN than ever before.

But as the news stories of this month prove, the battle is not over. Please would you help us step up our legal work at the EU, UN and UNESCO by sending us a generous donationthis month? Thank you for your support and partnership.



 

Young Adults meet in national capitals for prayer and networking


Editors note: Each month we report about some of our most important activities and observations. But ECI is much more than a monthly report can contain. This month we have asked the ECI Young Adults Group to share about their activities:

Since 2012 a group of young adults from different European nations has taken part in the ECI Policy and Prayer conferences.  Most of the conferences included short meetings of young adults together with some of the ECI board.  The first larger ECI Young Adults Conference in The Hague was organised by ECI's legal advisor Andrew Tucker and several young adults in 2014.  The purpose was to learn about the legal foundations of the State of Israel and to equip the younger generation to stand more firmly with Israel.  One highlight of this conference was the visit to the Israeli Embassy, where as a delegation of young adults from all over Europe we could encourage Israel in its difficult situation.  At the end of the conference some of us started to pray about a special trip to Israel focused on geopolitical aspects, bringing goodwill as ambassadors from Europe to Israel.

In May 2015, directly after the Global Prayer Call, the first ECI geopolitical tour took place in Israel.  It was an encouraging experience for the participants as well as for the Israeli politicians, diplomats, activists and journalists whom the group met.  Approximately half of the 30 participants were young adults from different professional backgrounds and European nations.

After this geopolitical tour, a small representation of these young adults remained in touch through Skype.  This group includes people from France, Finland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany, studying or working in areas including Media/Communication, Politics, Theology, International Law and Technology/Business.  In prayer we felt it was important to meet up to pray and hear from the Lord together for our nations and continent.

Starting with our shared capital city in Brussels in October 2015, the following ten months will have seen meetings in each of our national capitals: Amsterdam (January), Berlin (April), Paris (June), Helsinki (July), and London on its way in August.  The meetings have included visits to some significant places in the capitals, for example a visit to the Israeli embassy in Paris, as well as gatherings with other young activists and intercessors for Israel from the nation.  This core team, based on true friendship and founded in prayer, is seeking to position itself ready for God’s future plans, allowing the DNA of ECI to manifest through prayer, education and advocacy.

One practical initiative that has begun during this period involves education.  As a team, we write comments on the weekly parasha (portion of the Torah) for the blog of Young Christians for Israel International: www.isreality.org.  We try to explain the parasha within a broader context of Israel and the nations, trying to make the Old Testament accessible for young adults during these times of global disorientation.

God is doing something new among the young generation in Europe.  It is hidden and small, but it begins with genuine love and fellowship across borders.  Built on a shared understanding of God’s people Israel and His promised land, we seek His blessing on our nations individually and together.  Greater things are yet to come!

For more information about the ECI Young Adults Group please contact us atinfo@ec4i.org


(Picture: ECI Young Adults group at the Israeli Embassy in Paris in June 2016)