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Sunday, December 02, 2012

Who lost Europe?

It was common knowledge long before last Thursday that the automatic majority in the UN General Assembly would give the 'Palestinians' whatever they wanted. What was surprising was that the Europeans voted so overwhelmingly in favor. Only the Czech Republic voted against the 'Palestinians.' Jonathan Schanzer and Benny Weinthal offer up two different theories of why that happened. This is from the first link.
Israel, for its part, made no diplomatic overtures to counter Abbas's whirlwind tour of European capitals over the last two years, which included multiple visits to multiple capitals, including Berlin. The Israelis produced no tangible alternative to persuade European leaders from voting for the upgrade. Abbas badly outflanked Netanyahu, while Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who remains widely reviled among Europeans, did not exercise the diplomatic finesse necessary to keep Israel's continental allies at his side.
In fairness, Israel always faced an uphill battle in Europe, where Muslim populations are on the rise and pro-Palestinian sentiments continue to gain traction. From the EU's perspective, Israel's long-standing recalcitrance over settlements and the rise of Hamas probably made support for Abbas inevitable.
But for Netanyahu to find himself all alone, with only a reluctant partner in Washington and seven other countries by his side, must surely have come as a shock.
Read the whole thing.  His basic theory is that Germany and France were upset about 'settlements' and that they pulled Italy, Spain and Portugal along with them.

Benny Weinthal has a different view.
President Obama’s cherished multilateral foreign-policy strategy appears to be in shambles. Put simply, the United States could not even mobilize its major European allies — Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, and France — to oppose the PLO’s dramatic undercutting of the Oslo accords.
My own view is that neither Israel nor the United States put a high priority on stopping this move. Unlike last year's move, which would have required a Security Council veto by the US to stop it, this year's move could not be stopped by any one country individually. Once it was proposed, it was clear that it would pass. The only question was whether the US or the Europeans would go along with it. For Obama, who does not feel particularly warmly toward Israel, he wasn't going to vote in favor because that would cause him problems domestically, but he wasn't going to go all out to oppose the move.

In Israel, people don't generally take the UN seriously, because it is so obviously biased against us from the get-go on every issue. Additionally, Netanyahu has spent the last four years convincing everyone that Iran is the big priority - surely you don't expect him to suddenly decide that preventing the 'Palestinians' from getting statehood at the UN is important, do you?  So now, he's not going to spend a lot of tax money and time and effort trying to defeat a vote he had no chance of defeating. Netanyahu was UN ambassador 30 years go during Operation Peace for Galilee and he knows exactly how the UN works.

Was it worth spending a lot of effort to stop the Europeans from voting against us? What difference would it have made?

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