It is my position that:
First, the policies and practices of the European Union or at least, those of a significant number of its member countries (E.U.) concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the peace process are morally corrupt.
Second, the E.U.’s opposition to Israel’s plan to declare sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and part of Judea and Samaria and the threat to impose sanctions in the event the sovereignty is asserted are inconsistent with the body international law material to this case, and in effect, breach Israel’s incontrovertible rights under that that law.
Third, the E.U.’s policies and practices in dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict breach IHRA’s international non-binding working definition of antisemitism to which a large number of E.U. member states have subscribed.
I propose to address the first issue of the moral bankruptcy of the E.U policies and practices in this paper and address the second and third issues in a second paper.
I hasten to point out that, due to limitations of space, the evidence to address and illustrate this issue is by no means exhaustive.
The E.U, foreign policy establishment
Starting with the foreign policy establishment of the E.U, the first thing to note is that, at least since 2009, despite the vast pool of highly qualified, level-headed , fair-minded, highly-knowledgeable and competent candidates for the position of High Representative of the E.U. for Foreign Affairs, the E.U. has managed to find and appoint ones who prior to their appointment to the position have been known to have an unfriendly state of mind, not to say more, towards Israel in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, starting with Catherine Ashton followed by Federica Mogherini succeeded by Josep Borrell, the current one.
The one thing common to all three of them is their propensity to interfere in Israel’s domestic policies; to attribute to themselves the right to criticise Israel’s domestic and foreign policies related to the conflict and in a number of instances, to dictate to Israel the manner in which she ought to, nay, must behave in dealing with the Palestinians.
The following matters demonstrate, by no means exhaustively, the moral bankruptcy of the E.U.s policies and practices in their handling the Palestinian –Israeli conflict.
Failure to hold the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (P.L.O) and the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) to their word
By a letter dated September 9, 1993, Yasser Arafat, informed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as follows:
“The P.L.O recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security…accepts United Nation Security Resolutions 242 and 338…commits itself…to a peaceful resolution between the two sides…The P.L.O renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence… the P.L.O affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel’s right to exist…are now inoperative and no longer valid.”
Both the P.L.O and the P.A .established by the P.L.O in accordance with the terms of the Oslo Accord of 1993 (the “Accord”) failed to honour the letter and the spirit of Arafat’s missive and to act in accordance with the admissions, representations, promises, undertakings and concessions made by Arafat and both failed to ratify it.
Further, the P.L.O did not abolish its Charter to liberate all of Palestine or for that matter, even bothered to explain or justify its reasons for continuing to retain the Charter and the P.L.O’s terror structure.
One would have thought that in the circumstances, the very first step for the E.U. getting involved in the peace process required it to insist that the P.L.O demand Arafat and his successors to comply with the terms of the letter and failing that, to threaten the P.A. to cut its financial assistance and carry out the threat upon P.A.’s refusal or failure to do so.
Substance of the conflict: The overriding objectives of the P.L.O and the P.A.
It has long been clear that the overriding objective of the P.L.O and the P.A. has never been to secure a fair and just peace treaty with Israel. Quite to the contrary, their sole and immutable objective has always been and continues to be the destruction of Israel, by the very terms of the one and only treaty the P.A. is prepared to sign.
More specifically, this treaty must
a) provide for the return to Israel of all the so-called “refugees” as defined by UNWRA who choose to do so, and
b) not provide for the end of “mutual end of claims”, i.e. the mutual extinguishment of any and all the outstanding claims of the contracting parties had prior to the signing of the treaty and in this instance, for the extinguishment of any and all of the rights and claims P.A. and P.L.O had or may have had prior to the execution of the treaty that are adverse to the State of Israel and indeed, to its very existence.
The E.U. has certainly known that the absence stipulation (b) would render the treaty worthless and has been fully aware of the overriding political objective of the P.L.0 and the P.A.
In the circumstances, since the E.U. neither seeks to dissuade or to deter the P.A. from sticking to its current fake peace process, it is fair to wonder why the E.U. insists on remaining involved in such a process. The answer to this question has to be:
First, to mislead the world by grandly insisting that the two-state solution which it is the only way to resolve the conflict, while knowing full well this to be false, and
Second, in the meantime, in effect to aid and abet the P.A. to carry on towards its ultimate goal through its most generous and ever increasing financial assistance and political posturing.
In the meantime, the French President Macron insists on calling P.A’s President Mahmoud Abbas “a man of peace” and the successive E.U. High Representatives for foreign Affairs have and do treat him as if he is one indeed.
Israel’s intention to extend sovereignty
When the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the new government’s intention to place the Jordan Valley (a singularly unfitting geographical designation if there ever was one) and a portion of the so-called West Bank another misnomer) under Israeli sovereignty, all of which constitutes about 30% of the lands which it characterises to be “occupied lands, it took practically no time for Josep Borrell, and his Deputy Ambassador of the E.U. as well as for the ambassadors of six E.U. countries and Britain to condemn Israel’s decision on the ground, among others, that the extension of sovereignty would be a serious and clear violation of international law and on a number of other political grounds.
Borrell went further and on his own, without prior internal consultation with his colleagues, issued Israel a verbal cease and desist order and threatened her with sanctions in the event she fails to abide by the order. President Macron urged heavy ones; while Luxembourg also came up with the recommendation that the E.U. countries, that have not as yet recognised the State of Palestine, do so.
These are bizarre accusations and threats coming, as they do, from countries which at the conclusion of the Israel’s defensive War of Independence, sat on their hands and raised no big fuss about the illegal and oppressive occupation of the so-called West Bank by Jordan until Israel retrieved them in the1967 defensive war.
For that matter, they also shut tight their eyes and blocked their ears as Jordan engaged in the oppressive, nay, criminal, treatment of the Jewish inhabitants of the occupied lands and destroyed their communal assets in violation of the U.N. Charter of Human Rights.
In contra-distinction, the E.U. has never threatened the P.A. for its severe breaches of the law, the letter and the spirit of the Oslo Accord as well as of other international legal instruments with such a cease and desist order and threats of sanctions.
Nor has the E.U. issue cease and desist order and made threats of sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC) whose General Counsel recently decided to proceed with an investigation into the alleged war crimes of Israel in the so-called “occupied” territories, particularly in the light of the Counsel’s unethical dealings with the P.A. and Hamas on her way to reaching her decision, notwithstanding the submissions of E.U member countries and others that the ICC has no jurisdiction to undertake such an investigation.
I would have thought that such a grotesque subversion of international justice system established by the U.N. is contrary to and a serious breach of international law and deserves stern corrective action.
Neither the British nor the E.U. made any, let alone a serious and sustained, effort to de-Nazify the Palestinians
A critical component of the Palestinian ideology, starting with Amin Al-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem at the time of the British Mandate down to the present day has been its admiration of Al-Husseini and of Adolph Hitler.
Indeed, as a result of their actions during the years leading to and during the Second World War, the Mufti along with a Palestinian Nazi agent and a would be terrorist Hassan Salameh were ultimately condemned as war criminals.
It has been copiously documented that since then, the admiration of Hitler in particular for the killing of six million Jews has been passed on to the next generation of Palestinians in the political sphere and in particular to the Palestinian youth through cultural, educational and recreational means.
Indeed, Palestinian children have long been and continue to be brainwashed to believe that
a) the Shoah did not occur or did not occur anywhere close to the way it is described by the Jews and therefore the Jews have been lying;
b) Hitler’s killing of Jews was , among other things, “daring”;
c) killing of Israelis and Jews is heroic, and
d)the Palestinian terrorists who kill them are heroes.
Hence, the P.A. has named three schools after Palestinian Nazi collaborators as well as others after local terrorists. At least two schools post pictures of Hitler accompanied by an antisemitic text authored by Hitler.
The brainwashing does not stop with the children. It carries on with the mothers through songs and in other ways. The very popular song that promises to reach the top of the Palestinian hit parade sang by a renowned female Arab singer in live broadcasts on the P.A. T.V include the lines:
Palestine is etched on the heart of the fetus proud Martyr in his mother’s womb
In the premises, the prospect of the P.A. giving up terrorism lies exclusively in the fantasy world.
Financial assistance to the corrupt P.A.
The E.U. remains oblivious to the fact that a large majority of Palestinians consider the principal political players of the P.A. starting with Mr. Abbas, to be a corrupt.
And so it is that recently, Mohammed Massad, a Palestinian representing the Palestinian Workers’ Organization submitted a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court to seek an order to restrain the Israeli government from proceeding with the transfer of 800 million shekels Israel wishes to loan to the P.A. to help its workers to get through the hard times, on the primary ground that the State of Israel must respect the basic human rights of the Palestinian workers by preventing the P.A.to embezzle these funds.
The particulars set out in this ground include the description of the P.A. as a corrupt and illegitimate government that mistreats the population, embezzles public funds and finances terrorism, are surely by now old news to the E.U.
Under these circumstances by nevertheless continuing to provide the P.A. with ever larger amounts of financial aid the E.U. in effect has become a party to the ongoing corrupt schemes of the P.A
Failure to hold the P.A. accountable for the manner in which its financial aid is being spent
Surely, the E.U.’s financial support of the P.A. is officially justified on the premise that the monies are spent for the individual and collective welfare and well-being of the Palestinians under its jurisdiction.
Since by now there is incontrovertible evidence that this is not the case, surely it is the duty of the E.U. to hold the P.A. accountable for the manner in which its aid is spent and towards this end, to place the financial aid on a trusteeship to insure the lawful disbursement of the financial assistance funds.
Surely, its failure to do that suggests that as far as the E.U. is concerned, damn be the welfare and well-being of these Palestinians.
Funding of NGOs and Palestinian civil organisations hostile to Israel
In addition to its direct rich contributions to the coffers of the P.A., the E.U. also funds
a) NGOs in Europe, some 80 of which promote the antisemitic BDS campaign against Israel;
b) NGOs both in Israel and in the P.A. that are hostile to Israel and whose overall objective is to bad mouth her on the world stage with sensational accusations and in the process create trouble and difficulties for Israel through local and international rebel-rousing;
c) so-called Palestinian “civil society organisations” where the directing minds of some of these organisations or the organisations themselves maintain links with known terrorist groups.
In response to the Israeli authorities’ strong protest to the E.U. for funding the third category of organisations, the E.U has taken the position that the existence and maintenance of such links would not justify per se withholding the funding.
Israel, in a recent detailed study substantiated the fact that the E.U. neglects to trace the flow of the donated funds to their ultimate destination and that funds, donated by the E.U. governments and private individuals and organisations make their way into the coffers of terrorists.
So far, the E.U. has given no indication that it takes the problem seriously and intends to take action to correct the problem.
Failure to force the P.A. government to inject democracy into the P.A.
The E.U. has made no significant effort to force the current illegitimate authoritarian P.A government to resign and call the long overdue free elections to put in place a democratically elected government responsive to the electorate.
Such a development would create a new political dynamic in the Palestinian community that might be conducive to the formulation of alternative fresh, constructive and innovative ideas and policies that could lead to a domestic political renewal which in turn might impact positively on the “foreign policy” of the P.A.
In this context, the E.U. instead of funding the kinds of NGOs described above could work to assist financially and otherwise, the establishment of Palestinian and Israeli NGOs that promote peace, and engagement in constructive and productive dialogue with their Israeli counterparts.
In this connection the E.U. has failed to promote and protect existing and potential future dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli intellectuals, businessmen, industrialists and others who wish to find a peaceful and constructive solution to the conflict.
Personally, I venture to opine that if the negotiation of a peace treaty was left to Palestinian and Israeli bankers, businessmen and industrialists, such a treaty would have been signed long ago to the mutual benefit of both Palestinians and Israelis.
Instead, the E.U. has elected to become an accomplice to the Palestinian leaders’ policy of what Khaled Abu Toameh describes as one of “piracy, blackmail and plunder” which oppresses and dispenses arbitrary treatment and unlawful punishment to those who voice opinions critical of or contrary to their world view and behave accordingly.
Financing P.A.’s “pay for slay” program: Damned be the innocent victims and their families
P.A.’s “pay for slay” program has been a going concern for a good while as Palestinians terrorists go on maiming and killing in cold blood both Israeli and foreign innocent civilians as well as members of the Israeli army and police forces peacefully performing their lawful duties peacefully regardless of the ethnicity, religion, age of the victims.
Yet, the E.U. could not be aroused until very recently to ask the P.A. to cancel the program. Nevertheless, despite P.A.’s continuing funding of the program, it did not bother to compel the P.A. to comply with its demand by threatening to cut and cutting its financial aid progressively until the program is abolished: damned are the injured and dead innocent civilians, the soldiers and members of the police force.
In behaving in this despicable manner, the E.U.
a) ignored the warning of the Chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC)- an entity known for its special fondness for the P.A. and Hamas, that Ramallah’s payments to the terrorists and their families could constitute war crimes, and
b) minimally, the G7 members of the E.U. breached their duty as members of the International Financial Task Force (FATF) founded by them in 1989.
The FATF establishes and seeks or purports to enforce international regulatory standards and policy recommendations for state assisted terror financing and money laundering. The FATF member states are urged to issue sanctions and “counter measures” on countries that do not support the eradication of terror-financing and money-laundering practices.
Financing P.A.’s breach of the UNESCO-Principles of Education for Peace and Tolerance
In accordance with the terms of the Oslo Accord 1993, starting in 2000, the P.A commenced to issue its own schoolbooks and during the years 2016-2008 it published a newer set of these books used in the schools run by the U.N Relief and Work Agency (UNWRA).
For some years now, it has been incontrovertibly established that these textbooks violate the UNESCO Principles of Education for Peace and Tolerance in that they are designed to
a) incite religious radicalisation and intolerance, and
b) indoctrinate Palestinian students right through their schooling years with a visceral hatred of Israel and of Jews so as to condition them to grow up to engage in violence against the Jews and in the process become a martyr.
The E.U. has long been familiar with these facts established through the research conducted by reliable educational and other research scholars.
Yet, the E.U. waited until late in 2019 to announce that it would re-invent the wheel by commissioning yet another study of the matter that had already been exhaustively studied; but that in the interim, the member states would continue to make their annual contribution(s) to UNWRA’s educational fund. Germany elected to increase its contribution.
Most recently, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the foregoing defects in the textbooks while the E.U. continues to hedge its position and dodge the problem. In so doing, the E.U. stands in breach of the very UNESCO principles to which its member countries officially subscribe.
The failure to prevent the UN treaty bodies from violating their mandates against Israel
Further, the E.U. has done little if anything to prevent U.N. treaty bodies from increasingly violating their mandates as part of discriminatory anti-Israel campaigns. Thus, in the March month of the current year, the U.N. Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) embraced this nefarious trend by adopting a BDS agenda upon feigning or claiming to be convinced to do so by the submissions of the Norwegian NGO People’s Aid(NP.A.).
The unprincipled voting record at the U.N General Assembly
Finally, a large number of E.U. countries, continue to vote in favour of or to abstain from voting a steady stream of vile anti-Israel resolutions and thereby reinforce the prejudiced bias against Israel at the U.N. and to lend credibility and respectability to these resolutions.
For an organisation that professes to pursue and seek a peaceful and just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this pattern of behaviour provides clear and incontrovertible evidence that a number of E.U countries’ including Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Sweden, Luxembourg are simply incapable to be and act as honest brokers in helping resolve the conflict.
The Palestinian refugees’ alleged legal “right of return” to Israel
It has been pointed out by Einat Wilf and Adi Schwartz that
- The Western world- at least “that segment of the world particularly in the form of the UNWRA”, is indulging the fantasy of the P.A. of the refugees being able to return to Israel;
- The western countries by giving a billion dollars a year to UNWRA are in effect giving legitimacy to a fictitious ”right of return”, and
- Thereby, they are continuing to fuel the Palestinian vision that the war is still ongoing, that there are still refugees and that the outcome of 1948 could still be rolled back.
The UNWRA refugees comprise,
a) individuals who voluntarily left Israel at the invitation and with the encouragement of the Arab armies during Israel’s defensive 1948 Israel War of Independence on the grounds that this, according to the then Prime Minister of Iraq, would enable the armies to kill more Jews;
b) those who fled on the historically unsubstantiated belief- contrary to the incontrovertible evidence, that the Israelis would do to them that which they knew the Palestinians terrorists and the Arab armies would do the Jews;
c) those that were forced out as a result of the way in which the conflict played out in certain instances,
d) the fake ones created by UNWRA by designating all the lineal the descendants of the members of three groups in perpetuity; yes in perpetuity.
First, as a matter of law there is no such right of return. As a matter of fact, such a right would violate international norms regarding the treatment of refugees everywhere else in the world.
Second, P.A.’s demand based on the fictitious right makes peace impossible and effectively puts an end to the peace process as such a return would numerically overwhelm the Jewish nation-state and destroy its identity particularly in this instance, where the refugees will be hostile to the State, its laws and institutions and to its citizens and consequently would likely or engage in the destruction of the State.
At any event, Israel’s offer to address the issue with respect to the the possible return of a specified number of the people in this group in the context of peace negotiations has already been rejected.
In fact, the P.A. has rendered the refugee issue intractable in the context of a peace treaty by claiming that
a) the refugees have the choice to exert their right of return or in the alternative, to seek and receive proper compensation; and
b)since the choice of the alternative satisfactory to each refugee is strictly a matter of individual choice with respect to which the P.A. has no say,
In the premises the P.A. is not in a position to settle the matter of refugees in the context of a peace treaty until the refugees have made and acted upon their election.
In the circumstances, surely the E.U. ought to advise the P.A. publicly and in no uncertain terms that it firmly rejects its position and support’s Israel’s position. Wishful thinking.
The failure to honour the Palestinian refugees’ ’fundamental human right” to be resettled in a third country
The E.U. must and, in fact, can do far better than that.
More specifically, as pointed out by Evelyn Gordon in her article dated September 11, 2019 syndicated by the JNS titled “Palestinian refugees are tired of being the only refugees denied the right of settlement”. on September 5th 2019 hundreds of Palestinian refugees kept refugee camps in Lebanon, demonstrated, for a second time in a month, outside the Canadian Embassy, stating that of all the world’s refugees, they are the only ones denied the most basic of refugee rights- the right to seek settlement in a safe third country. Consequently, they requested asylum in Canada or in the European Union.
Indeed, worldwide, all the other refugees are handled by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which resettles tens of thousands of refugees in third countries every year. However Palestinian refugees who are handled by UNWRA are barred from applying to the UNHCR for resettlement. UNWRA itself has yet to resettle a single refugee.
The leading E.U. countries praise themselves loudly for their virtuous compliance with the international laws governing the proper handling of the refugees; their adherence to the new Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and their respectful treatment of the refugees’ human and civil rights and their respective domestic laws governing the handling of refugees.
Yet ironically enough, when it comes to the question of the rights of Palestinians in UNWRA camps, the self-proclaimed E.U. advocates of human rights including the rights of the Palestinians in the P.A. and the “occupied lands” , they fully support UNWRA’s refusal to grant its refugees the right of resettlement,
On this issue the E.U sings from the same page as other human rights organisations, while groups like Amnesty and Human Rights ignore the issue.
Hence on this one matter where the E.U. could contribute very substantially to the elimination of one major issue in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, once again, it chooses instead to help the P.A. to keep holding the gun to Israel’s head.
The failure to prevent the P.A from destroying physical evidence and artifacts of critical importance
The E.U. countries as many others across the world, attach a high importance to locating, protecting and preserving historical structures, artifacts and other objects that contribute to the enhancement of universal, regional and local human collective memories.
It is precisely for this reason that they, along with some private donors,
- invest substantial resources in educational institutions to enable them to train a wide variety of specialists in the reconstruction of the past, such as historians, ethno-historians, ethnologists, anthropologist, archeologist, linguists, and many others to research the past;
- establish and fund research libraries, archives and museums to preserve and disseminate existing knowledge of the collective memory, and
- finally, along with other countries establish and finance international organisations. to pursue a large number of these objectives on a collaborative basis,
Yet, once again, the E.U. sits on its hands, while the P.A. has been doggedly going around destroying the evidence that sustains this collective memory in the Middle-East in so far as the Jewish people is concerned.
For example, the P.A. is currently engaged in systematically demolishing the Hasmonean dynasty fortress, ironically using the E.U financial aid to carry out the vile deed, and for some time, destroying Israeli archeological sites .
On the foregoing evidence, which is by no means exhaustive, it is eminently fair to state that so far, the E.U. has been and continues to be a big part of the problem rather than a part of a solution in the resolution of the Palestinian-Israel conflict.
At the end of the day, it is clear that with the E.U. onside, the P.A. is most unlikely to cease and desist from pursuing its overriding objective of destroying Israel.
Unless the E.U. is prepared to stop acting as it has been and adopts a new principled, ethical and realistic course of conduct imbued with moral and intellectual integrity in its dealings with the conflict and the parties involved; or simply gets out of the way, it will remain an insurmountable obstacle to the resolution of the conflict, assuming such a resolution is possible.
Most regrettably, the chances of this happening are not promising as the major members of the E.U. are not prepared, among other things to
a) respect international law as it relates to Israel ;
b) vigorously oppose the corrupt antisemitic policies and pursuits of the United Nations and of its various emanations;
c) stop being mindless prisoners of the doctrine of globalism and practitioners of policies implemented to give effect to this doctrine, mired as these countries already are in a progressively losing battle in their steadily aggravating domestic ethnic, religious and ideological conflicts;
d) handle effectively the ongoing domestic and international violence and terrorism both causing and caused by these conflicts;
e) cease being a party complicit to the homicidal actions of Iran and Hezbollah and their repeated and publicly stated genocidal plans to destroy the State of Israel, presumably much to the delight of the P.A, and finally,
f) show the moral courage to read the riot act to the P.A. to force it to straighten out its act, for starters on the issues and matters identified above.