The European Commission has distanced itself from draft plans aimed at undermining Israeli control of parts of the West Bank. (EPA-EFE/ABED AL HASHLAMOUN)


EC distances itself from leaked plan to weaken Israeli control of West Bank


The European Commission has distanced itself from leaked plans aimed at undermining Israeli control of parts of the West Bank.

Detailed in an internal European Union document leaked late in 2022, the plan calls for the bloc to work with the Palestinian Authority to gain more control of Area C, the part of the West Bank under near-total Israeli control.

With the plan having prompted accusations of anti-Semitism and “blood libel” from Israeli lawmakers, the EC has now come out to disclaim responsibility for the document.

“The Commission is aware of the leaked confidential reflexion document suggesting certain future orientations,” foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on September 12.

“As this document is of a preparatory nature and is thus not a final document of the Commission, the Commission cannot assume any responsibility for its content.”

Despite that, Borrell went on to acknowledge the EU still believed that Area C rightfully belonged to Palestine, although he added that the bloc was not trying to “hide” its foreign policy goals in the region from Israel.

“Area C is the main land reserve of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state, and social and economic development in Area C are important for the viability of a future Palestinian state,” he said.

“The EU is implementing its Area C development programme in a fully transparent manner, in full cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and in consultation with the Israeli Civil Administration.”

Titled European Joint Development Programme for Area C, the EU discussion document sent shockwaves through Israeli politics in December 2022, prompting accusations of racism and anti-Jewish hatred from members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

“The document completely ignores our people’s historical affinity to our homeland,” read a letter sent to top Eurocrats from 40 Israeli MPs.

“This singular call has but one goal: to subvert the deep and indestructible bond between the Jewish people and its country and homeland.”

Israel’s Minister for Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli – a member of the right-leaning Likud party – accused the EU of “utterly ignoring Israeli sovereignty” in Area C with its activities.

He claimed the document confirmed “the grave reality on the ground” that Brussels was both planning and funding “massive illegal construction” in the country.