Ali Abunimah appeared on Al Jazeera’s Inside Story on 17 July to discuss the question along with the Guardian’s Ian Black and Yishai Fleisher, an Israeli settler living in an illegal colony in eastern occupied Jerusalem.
“The settlements are war crimes, people who aid and abet the settlements are and should be treated as war criminals. In that context, this European move is very small, very little and very late,” Abunimah said.
“When I listen to the settler speak about biblical claims, biblical justifications to steal other people’s land and property,” Abunimah said of Fleisher, “I’m reminded … that at one point in humanity’s dark history, white slave owners used the bible to justify owning other human beings.”
Black argued that the EU’s “clear intention is to say that there is a difference between the State of Israel and the territories it has occupied since June 1967.”
He added that the EU move was designed to “raise awareness … that internationally the situation is untenable” and that the cost of the status quo for Israel is rising.
Black emphasized that the EU move came partly as a response to “the call from below, from ordinary citizens” in Europe for settlement goods to be labeled and for “boycott, divestment and sanctions” on Israel. “I think we’re seeing the European Union respond to that.”
Fleisher, who admitted to living in an area of eastern occupied Jerusalem being actively ethnically cleansed by settlers, claimed that the decision “delegitimizes” the European Union.
- Has the EU really caused an “earthquake” for Israel? by David Cronin.
- Israeli banks may lose access to large loans under new EU rule on occupied lands by Ali Abunimah.