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March 6, 2006
EU: Oslo A Singular Commitment -- For Israelis Only

The European Union has never been terribly friendly to Israel, and now they want to push the Israelis into a unilateral commitment to follow Oslo, even while Hamas refuses to commit to the agreement. An EU Commissioner insists that the Israelis continue tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority, even though those transfers only started under the treaty that Hamas refuses to recognize:

Israel should release customs duties of 60 million euros ($72 million) per month to the Palestinian Authority's interim government, the European Union's head of external relations said in an interview on Monday.

"It would be important that the Israelis are paying out what is actually Palestinian money -- the customs duties," the
European Commission's Benita Ferrero-Waldner said in an interview with Austria's daily newspaper Der Standard.

Israel has decided to stop handing over the customs revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority following the victory in parliamentary elections of Islamist group Hamas, which is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state.

What is it about Israel that makes the EU think it should honor treaties that the other signatory has long since abandoned? The tax transfers came as part of the Oslo agreement as a way to boost the economic resources of the Palestinians so that they could move towards a two-state settlement and peacefully exist with Israel. However, two intifadas and an election of Hamas to government later, the Oslo accords are a dead letter, and the tax transfers should have died with them.

It is absolute nonsense to instruct Israel to pay a terrorist organization $50 million a month, when that group's main mission continues to be the destruction of Israel. Why should Israel have to fund its own destruction? The entire notion is ridiculous on its face, destroying the EU's credibility as a partner against terror. The EU even acknowledges that Hamas remains on its own list of terrorist groups, meaning that the EU cannot transfer money to Hamas. Why should Israel treat this any differently?

Israel should put the money in escrow to fund rebuilding projects and compensation for victims of Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians. Anything left over can go towards building the wall in the West Bank.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 6, 2006 6:58 AM

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