After helping the UN Security Council pass a harsh anti-Israel resolution last month, Britain this week turned the tables and blocked the European Union from officially adopting the final declaration from Sunday’s Middle East peace conference in Paris.
London spurned the conference by sending three low-level diplomats, while the other 70 or so nations attending all sent heads of state or foreign ministers.
British officials noted the ridiculous timing of the conference, just days ahead of the inauguration of a new US administration that has very different views on the Israel-Palestinian conflict than its predecessor. They also pointed out that Israel and the Palestinians weren’t even at the conference, and yet everyone there agreed that peace can only be achieved through bilateral negotiations.
London further stressed that the most likely outcome of the conference would be a hardening of Palestinian positions, putting true peace even further out of reach.
At the end of the confab, both the UK and Australia refused to sign the final declaration, which, as usual, placed the lion’s share of the blame for the lack of peace on Jewish settlement activity.
No matter. The European Union still intended to adopt the declaration. But London had other plans.
At the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, the UK again refused to endorse the document, and convinced several eastern European nations to do the same. The council can only officially adopt such resolutions with a unanimous vote.
PHOTO: Israel Prime Minister meets with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson late last year in Jerusalem (Kobi Gideon / GPO)