December 8, 2005
President Manuel Barroso
200 Rue de la Loi
Dear President Barroso
I am writing to bring to your attention how disappointed we were concerning the decision of the EU to delay taking action after receiving the recent report , compiled by the UK’s Jerusalem consulate into Israel’s actions in and around East Jerusalem. These actions are not only illegal under international law but are highly prejudicial, to say the least, to any hope of achieving a just and viable settlement of the conflict.
From the annexation and expansion of Ma’aleh Adumim into the E1 area to the recent signing of a contract for a passenger transit system from Mount Herzl to Pisgat Ze’ev, it is clear that Israel is contravening the Road Map obligations it claims to accept.
What is so perplexing is that the report makes explicit the deliberate policy of Israel and its profoundly iniquitous treatment of non Jewish residents of East Jerusalem. Israel seeks delay in which to establish, build and expand “facts on the ground” – illegal de facto annexation of land – and in this instance, the EU is providing it.
This is not some dry abstract land gain. Israel’s actions – as Ariel Sharon’s comments when signing the contract for the passenger transit system referred to above make explicit – are designed to “build, expand and strengthen [Jerusalem] as the eternal capital of the Jews and the unified capital of the state of Israel.“
This would put a final status agreement on Jerusalem beyond the boundaries of what is possible. The establishment of Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian State would be unachievable. A two state solution would be out of the question.
As you will be aware, European Jews for a Just Peace has opposed the upgrading of EU political and economic ties with Israel on the basis of Israel’s circumvention of the very agreements under which these relations have been proposed. The response has been to offer assurances that constructive engagement will be more productive. We would be interested to hear specifically what the EU feels this policy has achieved in the light of the points raised in this letter.
We trust that these points will be considered at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on 12th December and by heads of state at the Council meeting later that week.
While we understand that the recent announcement of elections in Israel have a tendency to perhaps put inter-governmental relations into limbo, we would ask you to remember that the residents of East Jerusalem would continue to feel the full effect of Israeli state activity in their neighbourhoods.
We believe that firm, timely and honest action by the European Union on this issue is required. Inaction raises questions of credibility. Without action, the conflict will intensify, not dissipate. Lives – more lives – will be lost.