Last week, the city council of Lille, the fourth largest city in France, decided on a "temporary freeze" of its twin city agreement with Safed (Tsfat) in Israel’s northern Galilee region.
Safed was once home of some of the most revered Jewish sages, among them the father of contemporary Kabbalah, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, better known as the Holy Ari.
Green Party council member Marie-Pierre Bresson explained that the decision was born out of the European Parliament's call to freeze privileged agreements with Israel in order to pressure Jerusalem and accelerate the peace process. Lille's move to freeze its relationship with Safed came just days after the new Swedish prime minister infuriated Israel with his announced intention to make Sweden the first major EU country to officially recognize a "Palestinian state."
Whether or not the council of Lille is aware of it, this decision is more of the same biased European policy that verges on being anti-Semitic.
Lille’s ties with Nablus and Shanghai, two of her other sister cities, should have been frozen over far greater grievances than Israel's reluctance to accept Europe's benevolent invitation to capitulate to Palestinian demands. China's occupation of Tibet doesn't seem to bother Lille, nor do the views and positions of Hamas member and Nablus Mayor Adly Yaish. According to the inflamed reasoning of the leaders of Lille, however, Israel is solely to blame for one of the world’s most intractable conflicts.
If the summer’s Gaza war taught us anything, it is that whenever a Palestinian-controlled region is given full independence, it’s first order of business is to turn all energy and resources toward fighting Israel, rather than improving the lives of the local Palestinian population.
Nevertheless, the Mayor of Lille, the Prime Minister of Sweden and hosts of other European leaders and intellectuals choose to turn a blind eye to the expressed Palestinian desire to dissolve Jewish control over the Holy Land. If they would have simply looked at the map of Israel as Palestinians envision it, they would have seen that not only the West Bank, but the whole of Israel is painted green.
The chilling breeze now blowing from the north reminds one of Jeremiah, who saw that days will come when "out of the north calamity shall break forth on all the inhabitants of the land … against all the cities of Judah."
Israel is increasingly concerned by these seemingly pro-peace policies that are aimed at coercing Israel into the unacceptable compromise of withdrawing to its pre-1967 borders without any reciprocal demand that the Palestinians renounce their dream of "returning" to Ashkelon, Haifa and Safed.
Whether or not Europe will bring calamity upon Israel is yet to be seen. It is up to them to decide whether or not they will once again give in to ideologies that mark the (Israelis) Jews as the world's scapegoat.
PHOTO: Town square in Lille, France.