Last month, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee discussed the issue of Palestinian takeovers of land in Area C through building in strategic places and agricultural takeovers, which are directed and funded by European governments. Europe is also funding the legal battle in support of the illegal building. In cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and NGOs, the European Union and additional countries support the filing of thousands of cases in Israeli courts.
The body coordinating the legal campaign in Israel is the “Norwegian Refugee Council” an international NGO listed in Israel under an “international humanitarian visa” approved by the Labor, Welfare, and Social Services Ministry. The organization is responsible for filing 600-800 cases a year to Israeli courts through Israeli and Palestinian political organizations and private lawyers. The group claims that between 2009-2014 it provided “legal representation in court on 4,069 cases,” and its goals for 2018 are “1,162 new cases in the West Bank”.
According to a report by the research institute NGO Monitor, the EU and other European governments gave the Refugee Council, and through it to the local organizations, more than $20 million between 2016-2020. An official document of the British government claims that between 2013-2016 the British have transferred £1.4 million “directly for legal cases against house demolitions or evacuations. 2,541 evacuations or demolitions were delayed as a result.”
European intervention is not limited to the funding of legal procedures. Official documents of various countries show an attempt to change Israeli policy and create facts on the ground in strategic areas, using the legal system. The program’s goals include “litigation of cases that are of public interest and challenge Israeli policy, through Israeli courts and international bodies”; “change of policy and practices”, and “a lobby in the EU and UN.” The program is executed in coordination and tight cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, which directs the cases of illegal building to the organization and its partners.