Why is this occupation different from all other occupations?

ashton   Top EU officials dealing with Israelis and Palestinians. From left to right: Hugues Mingarelli, Christian Berger, Catherine Ashton and Filippo Grandi (photo credit: European Union) The EU insists that Turks in Cyprus and Moroccans in Western Sahara ‘cannot be compared’ to Israelis in the West Bank. Two legal scholars are fighting a losing battle to find out why.



Raphael Ahren

By Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Many Israelis have long felt that the European Union is biased against them. Two legal scholars – a former Israeli ambassador and an American Jewish international law professor — think they’ve found the perfect case to prove the claim:  A new fishing deal, signed between the Europeans and Morocco, which applies beyond Morocco’s internationally recognized borders, taking in the territory of Western Sahara, which Morocco invaded in 1975 and has occupied ever since.

And they are challenging EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to explain why the agreement, which doesn’t exclude Morocco’s occupied territory, doesn’t show that the body holds Israel to a double standard.

The EU insists that any agreement will explicitly exclude the settlements in the “occupied” West Bank, the scholars noted in a letter sent last month to Ashton’s Brussels office. So why don’t the same constraints apply in the case of Morocco? This blatant inconsistency shows “an official double-standard practiced by the EU,” Professor Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University and Israeli ex-ambassador to Canada Alan Baker charged.

Last week, the EU responded to the letter, saying, essentially, that Israel’s occupation is different, but we’re not telling you how and why.

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