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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Eurabia: The good, the bad and the ugly - Part 1 - The Good (Flying Pigs)

There are several stories coming out of Europe relating to Israel today. Some of them strain credibility, others may be wishful thinking. But I'm going to try to separate them out for you so that you will hopefully be aware of what is going on. I started to do this as one post, but decided it was too long and cut it into three.

The Good: This one is just in: French foreign minister Phillipe Douste-Blazy has sided with Israel over the issue of IAF reconaissance overflights over Lebanon. As I'm sure you all recall, two weeks ago, France threatened to shoot down the IAF jets. That deserves a flying pig.

During a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Paris, Douste-Blazy said that the IAF forays "cannot be considered as a separate element of UN Resolution 1701."

"All parts of the resolution must be implemented, including the return of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers and preventing Hizbullah from rearming," said the French foreign minister.
Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi came out with a surprising statement on Saturday that I would have expected from his predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi. Unfortunately, it was made in a 'private meeting,' but if it's real it's good news. Prodi said on Saturday that Israel "needs a guarantee it will be able to maintain its character as a Jewish state." The statement is significant because it implies accepting Israel's rejection of 'Palestinian' demands for a 'right of return' for 'refugees' and their descendants.

Before you all get excited about this, keep in mind that the statement was made in a meeting where "the ground rules were that the content of statements would not be made public, so that the participants could speak freely." The Italian embassy in Israel has refused to comment.
Prodi's comments came at a meeting during which he also raised the idea of expanding the European role at the Rafah border crossing to include the entire Philadelphi Corridor if both Israel and the Palestinians agreed. He also said that now was not necessarily the time for large-scale Middle East peace conferences, as some have recommended recently in Europe, but rather for confidence building measures by both sides.
It should be noted that President Bush made similar comments in a letter to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004, saying that the United States "is strongly committed to Israel's security and well-being as a Jewish state." Israeli diplomatic officials, who are trying to read a lot of significance into Prodi's statement, have said that they do not expect that any Europeans would make a statement like Bush did, because they fear an Arab backlash.

But it sounds like the Europeans are trying to prop up the Olmert-Peretz-Livni government. Maybe they're afraid that a rightwing Israeli government would be less pliable. Or maybe - unlikely but just maybe - they're waking up to the Islamic menace in their midst.


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