JERUSALEM: An Israeli pro-settlement group is campaigning for Britain to leave the EU to punish it for what it says is its pro-Palestinian stance, one of its officials said on Sunday.
Regavim is a right-wing NGO that supports Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, though they are considered illegal under international law and major stumbling blocks to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.
Its campaign includes a mock video of a masked Palestinian militant purportedly from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip urging UK citizens to remain in the European Union because it supports the Palestinians.
It also highlights EU financing of Palestinian structures in the West Bank.
Meir Deutsch, director of policy and government relations for Regavim, said the NGO wanted to harm the EU over its "intervention in the internal conflict here between Israel and the Palestinians."
Some 60 percent of the West Bank is under Israeli control and Palestinians face extremely difficult odds in receiving building permits in those areas.
The EU has helped finance various projects in the West Bank and Israel has regularly demolished those it considers illegal.
The cash-strapped Palestinian Authority also receives finance assistance from the EU.
The mock video posted by Regavim on its campaign website (http://www.supportisraelleaveeurope.com/) shows masked militants with the logo of Hamas' armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, and in the background a line in English that reads: "Hamas wants UK to stay in the EU".
A male voiceover is then heard delivering a statement in British English in which he praises the EU for carrying out construction projects in the West Bank.
"If you truly hate Isra-Hell and the Jews and want to support our struggle, help Britain to stay in the EU," it says.
The voiceover also praised a recent European directive to label produce from Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.
Deutsch called the EU's actions "one-sided and anti-Israel, in the marking of products as well and paying salaries of terrorists," he said.
"We think they should be acting in a more balanced way. As long as that is not happening, we want the EU to be damaged."
Deutsch said their campaign was aimed at dual Israeli-British nationals living in Israel, and "anyone who cares for Israel" in the UK.
Britain's EU referendum will be held on Thursday.