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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cairo speech, European style

EU foreign policy chief Baronness Catherine Ashton gave a Barack Obama-style fawning speech in Cairo on Monday that revised history, papered over differences with the Arab world and attacked - who else - Israel. Emanuele Ottolenghi has a lengthy review of it here, and you really should read the whole thing. But I wanted to point out the end of the article which gives some quotes from Ashton's treatment of Israel with commentary interspersed.
Premise of her comments on peacemaking:
Everyone has to make their contribution and take their responsibility. As the European Union we have a firm commitment to the security of Israel; and we stand up for a deal that delivers justice, freedom and dignity to the Palestinians.
The overall goal:
The parameters of a negotiated settlement are well known. A two-state solution with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.
So far, nothing too shocking. But then Ashton offers details to her vision of a negotiated settlement:
Our aim is a viable State of Palestine in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza strip, on the basis of the 1967 lines. If there is to be a genuine peace a way must be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of Israel and Palestine. And we need a just solution of the refugee issue.
The EU is here reiterating its bias in favor of the Palestinian position. But there is more:
Recent Israeli decisions to build new housing units in East Jerusalem have endangered and undermined the tentative agreement to begin proximity talks. …

Settlements are illegal, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible. …

The decision to list cultural and religious sites based in the occupied Palestinian territory as Israeli is counter-productive. …

The blockade of Gaza is unacceptable. It has created enormous human suffering and greatly harms the potential to move forward.
So many details of Israeli mischief! But, again, what about the Palestinians?
The Palestinians too of course have responsibilities. First however I want to commend President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad for showing us that they can build the institutions of a future Palestinian State. But the Palestinians must get their house in order. Continued Palestinian divisions do not serve their interests. The political and physical separation between Gaza and the West Bank is dangerous. Palestinian reconciliation is more crucial than ever. The PLO must take its responsibilities in this regard, and face the challenge of renewal and reform.
Yes, that’s what is wrong with the Palestinian side of the equation. They are not fraternal enough to one another and the political and physical separation of Gaza and the West Bank is dangerous — though Ashton blamed Israel for it before!

For a brief period in the long history of EU-Israel relations, it looked like the EU had finally understood that to influence Israel it had to be friendlier to Israel — not just in words but also in deeds. That included being more understanding of Israeli concerns and more nuanced about the complexities and intricacies of the Arab-Israeli conflict, its history, and its challenges.

Lady Ashton has just made it abundantly clear that Europe has reverted to its old habits of appeasing Arab authoritarianism while chastising Israeli democracy.

In a different time, we would have dismissed it all as yet another example of European irrelevance and a guarantee that only the U.S. would really have a role in being the midwife of regional peace. But now, given the United States’s substantive and rhetorical posture vis-à-vis Israel, Lady Ashton’s speech should have Jerusalem worried. There aren’t any friends left around to shield Israel from this kind of European worldview — and so it might just stick.
What could go wrong?


At 9:50 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

So Israel is the "obstacle" standing in the way of Palithug "fraternity". It is interesting to note that the Haaretz report mentions the word "obstacle" too:

"According to a senior official in the Palestinian Authority, the Obama administration has promised Abbas that if either side fails to live up to expectations, the United States will not conceal its disappointment, nor will it hesitate to take steps to remove the obstacle."

This is very ominous.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger yzernik said...

They always say that the Palestinians deserve justice, freedom and dignity. But they never say the Jews deserve justice, freedom and dignity.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Mudrac said...

i am afraid that israel will have to wait untill obama is gone, to receive any protection from americans. however, i'm sure that both obama and the europeans are aware of the fact and that they will use all possible means to pressure israel into more conssesions. even more, i bet they are planning on unilaterally declaring a palestinian state with jerusalem it's capital, since no elected israeli government will ever agree to that.
so, how do israel stalls all unilateral moves? afraid to think so, but a new intifada looks like the only way to buy time.
hope i am wrong.

At 8:26 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Given the European Parliament's endorsement of the Goldstone Report, we can state with confidence European policy towards the Jewish State is being driven by deep-seated anti-Semitism. There is really no other rational explanation for the recurring outbursts of hatred of Israel.

Israel should forget about Europe.


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