TEL AVIV – The first ever caucus group at the European Parliament in support of West Bank settlements – or Jewish communities in those territories, also referred to as Judea and Samaria – will be formed this fall, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“There is a strong bias and prejudice of the current European elites against Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Petr Mach, a member of the European Parliament from the Czech Republic, said.
Inspired by his close ties with Yossi Dagan, the Director of the Samaria Regional Council, Mach established a group at the European Parliament called Friends of Judea and Samaria.
Dagan has been an active lobbyist for Judea and Samaria (the official Israeli term for the West Bank) at the European Union. The Samaria Regional Council said that it has hosted some 150 parliamentarians from around the world, including Mach.
A video released by the duo about the new organization features 10 European parliamentarians who support the West Bank settlements. Mach, who also serves as the vice chairman of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group in the European Union, said one of the goals of Friends of Judea and Samaria was to tackle the issue of EU funding to the Palestinian government, which, he contended, is “used directly or indirectly to sponsor terrorists.”
FJS will also solicit the EU to include the settlements in its free trade agreement with Israel, as well as to halt its support for consumer labeling of products from the settlements, the report said.
“I could see in Samaria that Jews and Arabs work there together, and by boycotts [or] by setting tariffs against Jewish products, the EU actually harms not just Jews but Palestinians as well. I think that this European policy is simply stupid,” Mach said.
“I see Israel as a friend and an important ally of Europe in defense and in the fight against terrorism,” he added.
“The war against the boycott is important for Israel.”