This is a guest post by Dov of dayvidsaffer.com
Our friends over at CiF have published an article today entitled “EU could bring peace to Middle East” which has been written by William Nitze and Leon Hadar.
To summarize it briefly, they claim, that due to America’s on-going financial woes and its participation in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq that President Obama’s administration might not be best placed in bringing the Israelis and Palestinians together to work towards a permanent treaty. Their counter suggestion is for the Europeans to engage more fully in the Middle East, and even to use the promise of membership to the European Union as incentives for the Israelis and Palestinians to reach a final settlement.
It’s an interesting idea, one I’m sure all those advocates of a one state solution would adhere to, however it’s entirely unworkable, for as much as America has been accused of being to pro-Israel the EU is not only too pro-Palestinian, they are actually anti-Israel. History has shown us that they rarely refuse to do anything that might upset Arab states whom they rely far too heavily on for their fuel requirements.
In her recent biography of Golda Meir, Elinor Burkett talks about how after the Yom Kippur war ended and cease-fire documents were signed and Israeli prisoners were returned by Egypt, Golda left Israel for a trip to Europe, where she attended a meeting, which as deputy chairman of the International Organisation of Socialists, she herself had called. The meeting was attended by the Prime Ministers of Austria, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden (amongst other non-Europeans). During the meeting, in typical fashion for her, Golda chastised those who attended for refusing to allow US military aircraft to use European facilities to re-fuel as they carried much needed equipment to an unprepared Israeli Army.
When Golda had finished the Austrian chair of the meeting opened the floor to comments, not one was forthcoming. As those in attendance sat in silence someone whispered, not so quietly:-
“Of course they can’t talk. Their throats are choked with oil!
And whilst I understand that we are now almost 40 years from those days, the Europeans really haven’t changed that much.
I have been back in the UK now for about 2 years and one of the things that strikes me is how anti-Israel not just the British have become, but how Europe as a whole really hasen’t changed since the 1970’s.
The European Union, a project I actually believe in, is ill-equipped to take on the needed role of bringing Israelis and Palestinians together. Only last week Sweden, which holds the EU presidency until the end of the year, came out with an EU position paper calling on the EU to recognise East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Now aside from the fact that East Jerusalem had been annexed by Israel, the very basis of UNSCR 242 insists that all sides come to a negotiated settlement.
This is something which Israel has tried to do time and again whilst the Palestinians continue to find excuse after excuse for not coming to a negotiated settlement. For the EU to take this position on East Jerusalem plays directly into the hands of Abbas who, in Arafatesq fashion, has done nothing to bring about a resolution with Israel. To reward Palestinian intransigence like this by offering them East Jerusalem as their capital only emphasises the point that through Palestinian inaction they will ultimately achieve everything they want.
Aside from that Nitze and Hadar naively believe that the Palestinians would benefit by being part of Europe, but clearly they show that they lack an understanding of who the Palestinians are. As Article 1 of the Palestinian constitution clearly states:
Palestine is part of the large Arab World, and the Palestinian people are part of the Arab Nation. Arab Unity is an objective which the Palestinian People shall work to achieve.
Now I realise I am no legal scholar, but even to my untrained eyes, its clear where the Palestinians see themselves, and its not in Europe.
Whilst these type of ideas might sit well at home in the US, especially amongst other “libertarians” such as Ron Paul, Nitze and Hadar clear agenda here seems to be about a decreasing international role for the US, and actually what they are suggesting will achieve nothing.
But I do actually have a solution, it’s not a new idea, but I would throw it out to both the Europeans and the Americans – up until the Palestinians are prepared to sit down face to face with the Israelis without any conditions being preset they should do nothing at all.