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Why is Europe so reluctant to challenge Israel's destruction of EU-funded projects?

A new report issued this month by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med Monitor) is called, "Squandered Aid: Israel's repetitive destruction of EU-funded projects in Palestine". The report imparts the obvious dissonance which characterises such violent cycles towards the end of its analysis. It is unfortunate that the tone employed detracts from the necessity to adopt a different stance with the intention to alter the dismal reality, rather than contemplating a widely-disseminated and accepted tone of resigned futility.

Prior to listing its recommendations, the report states: "The United Nations, the EU and countries that finance reconstruction projects, particularly in Gaza, understandably are concerned that any new investment will prove futile if the underlying causes of the conflict are not addressed." This remark summarises a quote used in the report by an unnamed European diplomat who admitted that, "All we help to rebuild is going to be destroyed again… We need a fundamental change in the situation so that we do not repeat what continues to happen." In short, the EU and other donors build; Israel destroys.

A glimpse at the summary provides evidence of Israel's contemptuous destruction of donor-funded projects; since 2001, approximately $65 million worth of development and humanitarian projects have been destroyed — "squandered" in the report's parlance — with $23 million out of the total lost during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 alone. In the first three months of 2016, Israel destroyed an average of 165 structures, including private residences and EU-funded projects, every month.

Another fact gleaned from the report is the secrecy shrouding such destruction. Since 2012, media and human rights institutions have been deprived of information regarding destroyed and damaged EU-funded projects, apparently to refrain from causing any embarrassment to the EU and also, according to an unnamed diplomat, "to avoid upsetting Israel". This is outrageous.

When considering the accelerating amount of damage to EU-funded structures caused by Israel, the recommendations to the EU commission and member states are perfunctory. They are simply more of the usual tactics of seeking to stem violence through reporting, meetings, demands for compensation, penalties imposed on Israel (although none are specified), and the increasing visibility of EU policy regarding the occupied Palestinian territories.

Of course, the EU would rather discuss the ambiguous "underlying causes" as opposed to stating the prime cause loudly and clearly: Israeli colonialism and Europe's collaboration. The EU's adherence to the two-state fallacy automatically renders any alleged concern invalid, since Europe is all too obviously urging Israel to complete its colonisation while attempting to appease Palestinians with talk of "an independent Palestinian state", despite the fact that the only actors involved in such gibberish are Palestinian Authority officials. It is also evident that while Palestinians are clearly in need humanitarian aid to provide even the most basic of needs, the EU has no qualms about squandering money for Israel to indulge in its violent tendencies, given its obvious reluctance to hold the settler-colonial entity to account for the destruction of EU-funded projects.

The EU has created a parody out of humanitarian assistance, and Israel has participated willingly, secure in its knowledge that the impunity it has constructed from within its warped agenda has now been assimilated and endorsed at an international level. Meanwhile, further reports of spiteful demolitions and damage will continue to occur because the EU, the UN and countries in their individual capacity are unwilling, as a result of complicity, to remove Israel's colonial entity from occupied Palestine.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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