The 27 EU foreign ministers are scheduled to decide Tuesday on the final wording of a statement on the Middle East that may very well include European recognition of east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
The official said that Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was working hard to pass the statement, extremely problematic from an Israeli point of view. He is being supported by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Other countries behind the proposal are Ireland and Portugal.
Israeli officials said that they had been told by those supporting the statement that it was needed to prod Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table.
Israel has waged an extensive diplomatic charge over the last week against the Swedish draft, one that included intervention by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and National Security Council head Uzi Arad.
Well, apparently the draft gives east Jerusalem to the Palestinians, but it does not give west Jerusalem to Israel. It also doesn’t mention anything regarding Israel’s security.
This is known in the trade as a slap in the face. Since coming to power, Netanyahu’s government eased up on checkpoints and military presence in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria, has supported and protected Mahmoud Abbas and his government, have slowed and now frozen virtually all settlement construction while being far more cautious about construction of Jewish homes in Jerusalem as well as destruction of Palestinian homes. In return, Israel has had to swallow the Goldstone Report, the Swedish “IDF Steals Body Parts” attack with no apology from the government and now this.
Make no mistake, this is important because the EU is part of the Quartet and a move such as this will encourage the present US administration to do the same.
To remind everybody out there: EAST JERUSALEM INCLUDES THE OLD CITY, WHICH IN TURN INCLUDES THE HOLIEST SITE FOR JEWS AND THE ANCIENT JEWISH QUARTER.
Since the Europeans see fit to take away from Israel its historical provenance and its holiest sites, it’s time for Israel to stop being nice. Here are some proposals which I hope would be enacted the day after this vote, if indeed is passes as described:
1. Assert that in all future EU ministerial visits to Israel, the topic of the Israeli-Arab conflict shall remain off the table entirely. If they have such a poor understanding of the situation, they have no place at the table.
1a. Alternatively, only speak to visiting EU ministers about the holiness of Jerusalem to Jews and about the Temple Mount.
2. Remove all protection, visible and otherwise, provided by Israel to Abbas and his crew.
3. Give up the 1000 prisoners, without Barghouti, to Hamas for Shalit. Do it right after removing all protections from Abbas. Do nothing to interfere with Hamas surge in the polls.
4. Eliminate any further support for American training of Palestinian forces.
5. Inform the Waqf that within one week, it loses control over the Temple Mount which is inside Israel’s sovereign territory. Then, do it.
6. Announce several building plans in Jerusalem, particularly east Jerusalem, that will establish large Jewish neighborhoods in the heart of this part of the city. Start construction immediately.
7. Unfreeze settlement construction in the major blocs – the “consensus” blocs.
8. Increase roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. Remove all support for Palestinian economic growth, including shutdowns of the Jordanian entry points.
Europe should really stay out of it. They have done enough damage with their constant funding for NGOs that oppose Israel, for their blind support of the Palestinians and relative silence over Hamas and Gazan attacks on Israeli civilian targets and the constant pressure presented from their courts over potential arrests of Israeli leaders.
Yes, it’s petulant and acting out of anger. However, consider what judicious and positive acts by Israel have caused. Obviously the EU is a little confused and needs to have its thinking adjusted.
Update: This is the language which the Italians and French prevailed upon the English and the Swedes to use in their final document:
The European Union will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.
This is a minor victory for all of Israel’s hard lobbying efforts since the EU didn’t just give away east Jerusalem. Negotiations based on 242 always indicated there would be some horse-trading before a deal is achieved and it had to take place between the key parties. I don’t think that in 1967 anybody believed that the Palestinians would be seated across the table from the Israelis, but here they are. This wording, of course, does not help in the efforts to achieve peace, but it also does not cause terminal damage.
They would have been better off just keeping quiet.