Secret EU document

A classified EU report leaked to Israeli media at the end of last year outlines a detailed plan to strengthen Palestinian claims in Area C. The document calls on European countries to monitor Israeli excavations and provide legal aid to Palestinians in areas controlled by Israel.

A secret EU report calls on European countries to monitor Israeli excavations and provide legal aid to Palestinians in areas controlled by Israel. Facsimile: EU document

The goal of the EU under the covert agreement is to protect Palestinian claims in the parts of Judea and Samaria that are fully controlled by Israel, known as Area C under the Oslo Accords. The area in question was first called the West Bank when Jordan annexed the area west of the Jordan River in 1950 and gave it the name “West Bank”. Arabs in the area as well as in East Jerusalem were simultaneously granted Jordanian citizenship and half of the seats in the Jordanian parliament.

The June 2022 six-page document, entitled “European Joint Development Program for Area C,” says the EU “aims to defend the rights of Palestinians living in Area C and to preserve Area C as part of a future Palestinian state in line with the Oslo Accords.”

It also includes practical steps such as mapping land in Area C, according to Israeli television Channel 13, which disclosed the agreement.

According to the Times of Israel, the EU document discusses the need to provide legal aid to Palestinians in Israeli courts to uphold their claims and to monitor Israeli archaeological excavations in Area C, which they see as a tool used by Israel to tighten and justify its control across the West Bank.

Ultimately, the EU would like to see Area C integrated with Areas A and B, with no separation between them, according to the report.

Divided into three parts

The 1993 Oslo Accords divided the so-called West Bank into three administrative areas, with Area A controlled by the Palestinian Authority, Area B under shared control, and Area C – about 60 percent of the area – remaining under Israeli control.

According to the agreement, Area C was to be gradually transferred to Palestinian ownership, but this has not happened. Several Israeli communities with a total of 400,000 Israelis are located in Area C. A Jewish presence in the West Bank is controversial both for Palestinians and for the world community at large, and they are also vulnerable for security reasons. That almost two million Arabs are full Israeli citizens is seen by the outside world as self-evident.

According to the Times of Israel, the EU delegation in Israel did not want to confirm the authenticity of the document and said that as a rule they do not comment on alleged internal documents.

“The EU’s policies and positions are formed by 27 member states and conveyed and communicated in an accurate manner both to partners and to the media,” the delegation said in a statement.

“Unified and unchanged policy”

“Our policy on the West Bank has not changed: the EU is united in its commitment to achieving a two-state solution where the State of Israel lives side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition with an independent, democratic, coherent, sovereign and viable state, Palestine, with Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.”

Israel’s foreign ministry said the document expresses positions it sees as “unacceptable”, which Israel has expressed to the EU in the past, on several occasions.

Religious Zionist leader Bezalel Smotrich rejected the EU document, saying according to the Times of Israel that “the EU’s apparent interference in the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to establish the facts on the ground and unilaterally establish a de facto Arab terrorist state in the heart of the land of Israel is unacceptable, is contrary to international law and inconsistent with basic rules of diplomacy in relations between countries,” writes the Times of Israel.