EU project linking Israeli settlements falsely claimed UNICEF support

UNICEF says that EuroAsia Interconnector, a European Union-financed project to link Israel and its illegal settlements to Europe’s energy grid, used its logo without permission. A screenshot from the official EuroAsia Interconnector website taken on 9 April showed the logo at bottom right. It has now been removed.

UNICEF has confirmed that a megaproject financed by the European Union to link Israel and its settlements to Europe’s electricity grid fraudulently used its logo to claim support.

The United Nations children’s agency was listed among the “proud supporters” of the EuroAsia Interconnector, a project to build a 1,000-mile subsea cable linking the European electricity grid with Israel via Greece and Cyprus.

This means that Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Syria’s Golan Heights – all illegal under international law – would be linked to the European network and benefit from Israel’s ability to trade electricity through the interconnector.

The $4 billion project project is backed by substantial European Union financing and has received the blessing of the Trump administration.

Palestinians had strongly criticized UNICEF and urged the agency to withdraw its apparent support, asserting that the EuroAsia Interconnector rewards Israel for war crimes, including systematic violations of children’s rights, and helps strengthen Israel’s settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

On Wednesday, however, a spokesperson for the UN children’s agency informed The Electronic Intifada that “UNICEF did not support or give permission to this company to use our logo and we have asked them to remove it from their website.”

The Electronic Intifada has confirmed that the UNICEF logo has now been removed from the EuroAsia Interconnector website.

“The Cypriot and Greek governments, as well as EuroAsia Interconnector Ltd, the company executing the electricity cable project connecting Israel and its illegal settlements with Europe, thought they could hide behind UNICEF’s long-standing work on human rights to whitewash this criminal project. UNICEF has called their bluff,” Alys Samson Estapé, the Europe coordinator for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), told The Electronic Intifada.

Estapé said that UNICEF had “responded to the thousands of human rights and solidarity activists who have raised serious concerns about its reported complicity in this project by denying any involvement.”

“We call for grassroots pressure on the EU and the governments involved to immediately cancel the construction of the cable in Israel or risk being complicit in Israel’s war crimes,” Estapé added.

“We condemn the EU’s hypocrisy and failure to hold Israel accountable for any of its crimes against the Palestinian people.”

A request for comment has been sent to the EuroAsia Interconnector media office.

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Ali Abunimah

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.