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Justice Minister: EU Funding of Anti-Israel Lawfare Undercuts National Security

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Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks at an event at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC, March 5, 2018. Photo: Alex Traiman. – A report claiming that the European Union has agreed ‎‎to fund a ‎‎left-wing initiative to pursue legal ‎‎proceedings ‎‎against Israeli soldiers sparked a ‎‎political firestorm Sunday, with some urging Prime ‎‎Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to summon the EU envoy ‎in Israel for ‎clarification.‎

A recent report by NGO Monitor, which promotes ‎greater transparency ‎‎‎among foreign-funded Israeli ‎nongovernmental ‎‎‎organizations, claims that the ‎program, for which the ‎‎‎EU has allocated some €250,000 ‎‎($290,000), was set up at ‎‎‎the request of three left-wing groups and is slated ‎‎to be ‎in place at least ‎until 2021‎.‎

The initiative is the brainchild of the groups Yesh Din – ‎‎Volunteers for Human Rights; Breaking the Silence, ‎‎an advocacy group dedicated to exposing alleged ‎‎wrongdoings by the IDF; and Physicians for Human ‎‎Rights – Israel. On their funding application, the groups indicate that they wish to eradicate the “culture ‎of impunity” among ‎Israeli security forces personnel.‎

‎”This report shows that EU-funded anti-Israel ‎lawfare is now conducted on another level,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told Israel Hayom on Sunday.

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“It ‎is trying to pave a path to the International Criminal ‎Court in The Hague.

“These actions undercut Israel’s national security. ‎It is absurd that while Europe enjoys the benefits of Israeli ‎intelligence, which saves lives, the EU itself is ‎harming Israel’s security.” ‎

Yesh Din, which initially denied the allegations ‎made by NGO Monitor, later confirmed the initiative’s ‎objectives on its Facebook page.‎

In a post acknowledging that the EU-funded ‎initiative directly targets the security forces, the group wrote, “Every night, ‎Israeli security forces enter the homes of ‎Palestinians across the West Bank for many reasons: ‎raids, arrests, searches, mapping, or simply as a ‎show of force or training.‎

‎”Who decides which house the soldiers enter? Who ‎makes sure they comply with the law? Our new ‎project, in cooperation with Physicians for Human ‎Rights and Breaking the Silence, is designed to ‎examine the various practices of forcible entry into ‎Palestinian homes.”

Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer told Israel Hayom that ‎he plans to introduce a bill requiring groups that receive the majority of their funding from ‎foreign entities to detail their funding sources in any document submitted to the court.

‎”When a group makes it its mission to target Israeli soldiers and detract from their strength on the battlefield, making them fear future lawsuits, it becomes imperative to carefully ‎scrutinize its [the group’s] ultimate objective and who is behind it,” Forer said. “We cannot ‎allow such groups to use foreign funding to exploit ‎the legal system and harm IDF soldiers.”

Ariel Kellner, director of National Vision – the ‎Center for Zionist Leadership, called on Netanyahu, ‎who as well as being prime minister also holds the foreign minister’s portfolio, to urgently summon ‎ ‎European Union ‎Ambassador to Israel Emanuele ‎‎‎‎‎Giaufret and demand an explanation.

‎”This initiative is liable to tie the IDF’s hands in ‎the war on terror and prevent it from thwarting acts ‎of terror that endanger human life,” Kellner said. “This is ‎hypocrisy and a terrible injustice perpetrated by the European ‎Union.”

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