Europe’s unreasonable acrimony towards Israel has finally gone beyond the usual condemnations, and been sealed in a document worthy of the pro-Palestinian activist who initiated it. It does significant economic and moral harm all around – to Israel because it delegitimizes Israel’s policies and ultimately its capacity to decide what is necessary for its survival. It harms the EU because it reveals the EU’s unbalanced view as well as excluding it from peace talks. And the Palestinians are harmed because those among them who have an interest in co-existence with the Jews in the disputed territories are far greater in number than their politicians.
The Palestinian Authority’s acting President, Mahmoud Abbas, whose term of office expired years ago, expressed the greatest satisfaction: the European Union gave him the umpteenth reason to oppose the peace process, which the USA is painfully trying to restart. It is not hard to imagine that the European document, which is particularly vicious, was not drafted at the top levels, but rather by mid-level officials accustomed to wallowing in anti-Israel political correctness. it says that «the EU shall ensure that all agreements between the EU and the State of Israel unequivocally and expressly indicate that they do not apply to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, that is, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip,» and expands its scope to all those within a line which has not even existed since the time of the peace agreement with Jordan. This is a full-blown boycott.
Apart from the fact that there have been no Jews in Gaza for years and the Golan Heights were annexed (thank goodness, otherwise who knows what Bashar Assad would do nowadays, given that the territory was Syrian, not Palestinian), the EU’s desire to take explicitly hostile action against Israel over the West Bank is evident. The document involves all Israeli persons and institutions that in one way or another have something to do with the disputed territories, and it prohibits any interaction with them. This prohibition means, for example, that it will no longer be possible to continue with mutual research projects with the University of Jerusalem, Ariel University or other research institutions located on the other side the Line. It will mean that suddenly 500,000 people, with their annexes and business, such as distributors and exporters, within the Line will be trapped, discriminated against and impoverished, Arabs included. According to the EU, Jerusalem should be divided tomorrow, maybe with a wall as in Berlin. Farmers, wine merchants, small manufacturers, teachers and scientists live in the territories, and have been collaborating productively with the Palestinians. But the EU apparently imagines it is bypassing 500,000 fanatics on horseback in Judea and Samaria, who are preventing peace. However, according to the UN Security Council Resolution 242, peace shall be achieved when the border between the two states is established that also respects Israeli security.
No resolution by the Security Council defines Israel’s holding the disputed territories, entered during a defensive war in 1967, as illegal; and all of the significant documents after 1920, regarding the built-up areas west of the Jordan River, demonstrate that so-called international unlawfulness is a political invention without basis. The EU seems to have already concluded the negotiations, and has put the border along the vulnerable 1949 armistice lines, where the fighting just so happened to stop
Does the EU know what establishing a border along that line would mean? It would mean, in a country the size of Vancouver Island, allowing Jerusalem itself, as well as Israel’s international airport, to fall prey to attacks.
The EU knows very well that Mahmoud Abbas and many in the Palestinian Authority leadership have declared that once a Palestinian state is established, it must be completely free of Jews This is a racist message, in line with the antisemitism that dominates the Palestinian Authoritie in their government-produced school textbooks, their government-controlled media and in their government controlled press… and this is just a prelude to the forced relocation of 500,000 Jews who live and work in the areas that Europe considers to be part of the Palestinian state.
Why is Europe doing this? And why now? Certainly, the person most irritated should be not Abbas or Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry: Europe has just skillfully destroyed any possibility of convincing the Palestinians to negotiate for peace.
Fiamma Nirenstein, journalist and author, former Vice-President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
This article was originally published in Italian in slightly different form in Il Giornale; English translation copyrighted by the Gatestone Institute.