Europe's holier than thou approach to Israel

Thursday, July 25, 2013 |  Tsvi Sadan

The European Union's new guidelines concerning withdrawal of financial support from Israeli "entities" working in the "occupied territories" didn't surprise Israelis. For a long time now the EU’s biased stand toward Israel has caused Israeli governments to keep the EU at arm’s length, especially when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Careful reading of the EU’s latest declaration shows that Europe sees negotiation between the parties as superfluous since the outcome has already been decided: Israel will withdraw fully from all territories captured in 1967.

Though claiming to uphold international law, Europe ignores UN Resolution 242, which calls for an Israeli “withdrawal … from territories occupied in the 1967 war.” Europe added to this resolution the qualifier “withdrawal from ALL the territories,” and contrary to that resolution, assumes it should be done without negotiation.

While insisting on Israel’s complete withdrawal, the EU continues to include Gaza in the occupied territories despite the fact that in 2004 Israel withdrew to the pre-1967 borders surrounding the coastal enclave.

At the same time, the EU remains complacent in the face of the ongoing rocket attacks against Israel. Furthermore, the EU doesn’t seem to mind that it supports an organization called the PLO that never gave up on its stated purpose to rid the region of its Jewish state.

What we are left with therefore is a European interpretation of international law that applies to Israel alone. The EU's stated purpose, which is “to ensure the respect of EU positions and commitments in conformity with international law,” reveals once again that behind this self-righteous declaration hides the old and ugly prejudice that singles out the Jews as the sole reason for the Middle East’s problems.

The fact that almost 100,000 people have already died in Syria doesn’t seem to bother the EU as much as where Jews build their homes. Nor do the hundreds of dead Egyptians and a new wave of terrorist activity in Sinai seem to be giving international law-abiding EU legislators any sleepless nights in the way that Jewish "settlements" seem to do.

Maybe it's time for someone to remind Europe of its responsibility for the chronic instability in the Middle East, much of which can be traced back bored French and English clerks who drew straight lines on their maps to create countries out of nothing. Maybe they should be reminded of David Fromkin’s book, A Peace to End All Peace, and in taking responsibility work to ease tensions instead of inflaming the region by taking the easy path of blaming Israel for everything.

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