Tomas Sandell
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Undiplomatic EU diplomats

A report by Jerusalem diplomats urging sanctions against settlement activity is a one-sided effort to isolate Israel

An internal report issued by EU countries consuls general in Jerusalem and Ramallah has called upon the EU member states to prevent financial transactions, including foreign direct investments from within the EU, in support of settlement activities, infrastructure and services.

Reading through the one-sided report leaves one with a Kafkaesque sense of reality. It is a bit like sitting through a one day UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva discussing only Israeli human rights violations. The discussion leaves out – per definition – any mentioning of Palestinian violations. When the question is raised, from time to time, why this is the case the answer is simple. The agenda item is about Israel, not about the Palestinians. This can be understood – though never accepted – in an international forum where human rights standards are defined by some of the cruelest authoritarian regimes in the world. But Brussels is not Geneva.

The European Union is said to be a community of values. These values, however, are shared today by only one country in the Middle East, namely Israel. How can it then be that the EU is constantly putting all the blame for the failed Middle East peace process on the Jewish state? Perhaps the values have disappeared and have been replaced with something else? Did anyone say ”petro dollars?”

The recent diplomatic report is nothing but a verbal onslaught against the Israeli government and in particular those living in the disputed territories. It suggests that ”individual member states should consider denying entry to known settler activists.” It also calls for ”guidelines on retail labels for settler made products, such as wine or cosmetics, in order to guarantee consumers’ right to an informed choice.” A rather sophisticated way of echoing the Nazi call, ”kauf nicht bei Juden” (don’t buy from Jews).

In one of the most mindboggling parts of the report, the diplomats are openly complaining that archeological sites are being dug up which creates a ”partisan historical narrative of Jerusalem, placing emphasis on biblical and Jewish connotations of the area, while neglecting Christian and Muslim ties.”

What exactly does the report mean by ”partisan historical narrative?” Are the authors perhaps suggesting, like Mahmoud Abbas, that there was never a Jewish temple in Jerusalem and that all Jews in Jerusalem are trespassers who will eventually have to be evacuated once Jerusalem has been proclaimed the capital of a Palestinian state? The report does not say, it only insinuates.

One can have different views on the future status of Jerusalem but this should not prevent us from sticking to historical facts. The statements made by the EU diplomats are as ignorant as they are shameful but they help to explain the underlying objective of the EU report; to discredit the Israeli government and its claim to Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

The Jerusalem report is but one example of the ongoing EU soft war against Israel. European diplomats helped draft the unilateral Palestinian statehood bid at the UN in November and they also helped to push it through. Now they want to isolate Israel further by recycling some of the most vicious accusations against Israel from the Arab league.

The recent report hardly positions EU as a credible peace broker in the Middle East. It only shows how European foreign policy is too important to be left in the hands of anonymous EU diplomats but will have to be managed by democratically elected parliaments and governments of the EU member states. Luckily, among these EU-member states there are still those who subscribe to the original EU values of respect for human dignity, liberty, human rights and democracy. And perhaps one should add, respect for history.

About the Author
Tomas Sandell is a Finnish journalist who has been accredited by the European Union. He is today the Founding Director of European Coalition for Israel.