Jpost reports:

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.

About the author

themiddle

28 Comments

  • An excellent article! If only the Israeli government would follow this advice, things would change radically. Israel seems to have lost the understanding of what it means to be a sovereign state, and when that happens, other countries lose their respect for you and just demand more and more.

  • Listen, Israel was never “being nice” to begin with. How does building a network of settlements throughout the West Bank, replete with settler-only roads and checkpoints that don’t even separate the Palestinians from Israel, but only separate them from one another, qualify as “being nice?” How does constructing a fence/wall that annexes 11% of the West Bank, leaving thousands of Palestinians on the wrong side, qualify as “being nice?” Moreover, how does that help Israel’s security in the least? It does nothing but sow greater hatred and resentment. As someone who has lived in Israel, goes there frequently, and has many family and friends there, I am personally concerned that this state of affairs is never going to lead to a lasting peace, but will only create a more tense and precarious situation in the years to come. It’s not a big secret that a two-state solution would include Jerusalem as a shared city, with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. That is, if a two-state solution can ever be possible, considering the continued growth of settlements. I don’t see why you would advocate expanding these settlements, which are illegal under international law, as a response to this.

  • I don’t see why you would advocate expanding these settlements, which are illegal under international law, as a response to this.

    That is assuming you agree that international law has standing in the case. It doesn’t have to be and is frequently not accepted by countries around the world.

    There is no real consensus on numerous things such as UN Res 242.

  • Middle, you’re long on outrage but short on common sense.

    East Jerusalem is what, exactly, in this context? We can assume the EU will leave metes-and-bounds descriptions to others. It’s far from clear this somehow amounts to a directive that Israel hand over all of the holy sites. The EU won’t do such a thing. And “unfreezing” the settlement moratorium, the shrewdest move Netanyahu’s made, would be a public relations disaster– and it would likely prod Obama to take anti-Israel action. Remember when your idol, our secretary of state, crowed about this as “unprecedented” and some sort of breakthrough (it isn’t– which is why it was shrewd)? Obama’s a sleeping bear at the moment. And if you’ve ever been out in the woods, Middle, you know you’re not supposed to prod sleeping bears.

    You’ve got to get over your Euro obsession. The EU doesn’t matter. Pick up the current Economist for its editorial mocking of the EU’s newly-elected “leadership”. An over-the-top, ADL-style, Holocaust-is-right-around-the-corner approach is exactly what’s NOT needed in Israel’s effort to survive the Obama administration.

  • Anti-Europeism is en vogue it seems. (Mayhaps a side-effect of the painful realisation of having fallen behind economically, educationally, socially, and culturally for a stable amount of years already?) Or maybe we need better journalists that know what they’re writing about even if the reality displeases them.

  • Tom, thanks for the 5 stars. You giveth and you taketh away. What’s that about?

    Anyway, back to Alyssa who writes:

    Listen, Israel was never “being nice” to begin with. How does building a network of settlements throughout the West Bank, replete with settler-only roads and checkpoints that don’t even separate the Palestinians from Israel, but only separate them from one another, qualify as “being nice?”

    They are not “settler only” roads. They are roads for Israelis (including Arab Israelis), and they exist because the Palestinians averaged about 5000 attacks on Israelis per year in the first part of this century, most of which were sniper attacks on cars and buses with Israeli license plates traveling on the old roads.

    “How does constructing a fence/wall that annexes 11% of the West Bank, leaving thousands of Palestinians on the wrong side, qualify as “being nice?” Moreover, how does that help Israel’s security in the least?”

    It’s actually about 7% of the West Bank and it does not annex anything. It is movable, and in fact it does not even represent the offer made last year by Olmert which was not based on the barrier. The barrier, however, has been instrumental in cutting down attacks on Israel. Look up how many attacks and attempted attacks there were on Israelis in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Then look at 2005, 2006 and 2007. There’s a steep decline. You can attribute that to the new roads, increased intelligence, the return of Israel to Areas A and to the security barrier.

    This isn’t about “nice,” it’s a simple defense tool. As for times when Palestinians have seen their land divided, they have been able to appeal to Israel’s High Court and when they were right in their complaint, the Court ordered the fence to be removed and replaced in a place where it would be less harmful to the Palestinians. This has happened more than once.

    It does nothing but sow greater hatred and resentment.

    You’ve got to be kidding. There was a point during 2002, at the peak of the suicide bombing season, when Khalil Shikaky ran a poll showing that over 77% of Palestinians supported suicide bombings. This was before the security barrier was constructed. So do you think the barrier brought it up to 85%? Isn’t 77% enough? The barrier provides another line of security for Israel.

    As someone who has lived in Israel, goes there frequently, and has many family and friends there, I am personally concerned that this state of affairs is never going to lead to a lasting peace, but will only create a more tense and precarious situation in the years to come. It’s not a big secret that a two-state solution would include Jerusalem as a shared city, with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. That is, if a two-state solution can ever be possible, considering the continued growth of settlements.

    What does the growth of the settlements have to do with peace? Israel offered to give the Palestinians 95-97% of the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. They can offer this because 80% of the settlers live in the 3% of land adjacent to the Green Line.

    As for the issue of giving east Jerusalem to the Palestinians, Barak tried in 2001 and he got a full-blown war. Olmert tried to internationalize Jerusalem and Abbas walked away. Why are you blaming Israel? The Palestinians are delaying. Put the word “endgame” into the search box on the upper right of the site and you will find my articles on how the Palestinians are playing this game. Their goal is to delay, not to close a deal, and it doesn’t matter whether the barrier is there or not, whether the settlements are there or not or anything else. These are merely excuses. If they wanted peace and a state, they have received two generous offers and one pretty good offer in the past 9 years.

    “I don’t see why you would advocate expanding these settlements, which are illegal under international law, as a response to this.”

    Jerusalem is annexed to Israel and Israeli construction is most certainly legal there. Second, contrary to popular claims about the illegality of “settlements,” in actual fact there is a legal dispute of some substance regarding their legality. Not only were the Palestinians not a high contracting authority, but this land had no claimant to it since the Jordanians’ attempted annexation failed. If anything, this land was slated, as per the League Of Nations mandate to the British, to become a “Jewish home.” Furthermore, certain laws of both the Hague and Geneva conventions do not apply to land conquered in 1967 since it was a defensive war.

  • Middle, you ignore our friend’s point about “expanding” settlements. Is this a good idea?

    • Depends. She’s including Jerusalem, in which case it is absolutely a good idea. It’s also a good idea in the settlement blocs that are within the 3% WB line proposed in the Taba agreement, such as Ma’aleh Edumim and some of the neighborhoods surrounding Jerusalem. As for other settlements, beyond the 3% line and even beyond the fence, it’s a lousy idea to keep expanding them unless somebody feels like having a single state from the Sea to the River.

      I will also say, however, that unlike her, and almost everybody else who advocates for the poor Palestinians who keep rejecting peace offers, I don’t understand why a future Palestine should be emptied of all its Jews. If Jews would like to live there, why can’t they? Israel has 1.4 million Arab citizens living inside it. If a Jew wants to live in Hebron, he should be permitted to do so in the new Palestine.

  • By what authority does the European Union have the right, the jurisdiction, or the moral qualifications to decide how territory in the Middle East should be divided? The Colonial period is long over, the United Nations (in its great wisdom or lack thereof), granted Israel a specific territory which has grown becaus they defeated several Arab countries who attacked them. Not one single European nation ever came to Israel’s defense or even suggested that those attacks were against ‘international law’ or the decisions made by the UN with their approval. A victorious nation has mever been told to just return the land they have won in war and the land, if it should be returned, would go to Jordan and the other nations who might have a claim because there was never a Palestinian nation or people before the middle of the last century.

  • Holocaust 2: Return of The Evil Continent

    That would be the Movie Poster.

    There are millions of disenfranchised non-citizen Turks living in Germany that have no citizenship.

    They are 21st surfs.

    They are born there, live there, have children there, and still cannot vote.

    The Spanish have occupied Basque land for generations.

    I guess Spain doesn’t have to worry because they won’t be called on the carpet for an obvious land grab.

    Italy, France, have ongoing resolution issues regarding colonies, and occupation of lands that were never part of their country.

    Poland occupies a sizable chunk of historic Germany.

    Oh there are so many fun facts like these, I get kind of giddy.

    • There are only two million people of Turkish descent in Germany in total. They’ve either got Turkish or German citizenship. They can either vote in Germany or Turkey. Getting German citizenship is a routine procedure.

      Poland does not occupy a part of historic Germany as the border between Germany and Poland was agreed upon by the legislative. There is no “occupation”.

      The Basques live in Spain and France and accepted the borders for a long time (the majority still does). The terrorist, separatist ETA was founded only 50 years ago in opposition to the Franco dictatorship.

      And Not one single European nation ever came to Israel’s defense or even suggested that those attacks were against ‘international law’ or the decisions made by the UN with their approval. is either grossly ill-informed or a blatant lie.

      Europe has come a long way and has used the years since the Iron Curtain fell to grow into an amazing international community that has learnt to resolve its domestic conflicts “like adults”. The realisation that war always only knows victims has done Europe good.

  • “Acting like adults” is peremptorily deciding to whom Jerusalem does and does not belong?

    Seriously, who or what gives them that right? The arrogance, self-righteousness, condescension and hypocrisy are so mind-boggling as to defy description.

  • Acting like adults is resolving conflicts without violence – and that counts for both sides.

    If people / governments act like petty kids, it’s small wonder that at some point somebody will tell them to shut it and get their act together. Obama’s Middle East policy has already pointed in that direction.

    Differently put, how can both Israel and the PNA expect foreign countries to take them serious and support them (as they’re both well-aware they’re part of the network of international dependencies) if people abroad don’t see any real willingness to progress?

    And that has got nothing to do how I feel about this case but everything to do with how Israel and the PNA are perceived by those that do not have a positive bias towards either. The world is running out of patience, it seems, and neither Israel nor the PNA should take that lightly.

    Still, I’m amazed by how ill-informed and biased people on here are when it comes to Europe and European-Israeli relations, particularly considering that Israel has been treated as a more likely candidate to join the European Union than Turkey (Has anybody on here ever even cared to read about that?), that Germany’s Israel’s second-most important partner in foreign trade and academic exchange, and that the Federal German government has repeatedly declared that the status and safety of Israel are non-negotiable. That was in the press again only a couple of days ago wen the new German minister of foreign affairs visited Israel. Has anybody on here cared to read about that visit? Not only just now that I’ve mentioned it but when the visit took place?

  • listen themiddle, what the hell makes you think that israel as a state will continue to push and bully the palestinians

    you jews hav always messed up, always, from supporting european colonialism in africa to the iraq war, you jews never stood in the right side

    its the same this time around

    your machismo bullshit will lead to nothing

    Also, I am CTC.

  • Frolyein, you well know just how far Israel has bent over to try and achieve peace, and how the Arabs have spat on them at every turn. The willful disregard of this on the part of many in Europe makes me suspicious of their motivations for the positions they take.

    Relations with some individual European countries are still good, like Israel’s relations with Germany. However, the EU, as a bloc, is overstepping its bounds.

    Do you really believe that Israel is acting like a petulant child? (Abbas is, though, that’s for sure.) You may not, perhaps, but anyone who does has no understanding of what is really going on. This is absolutely a matter of life and death for Israel. That people think it is not just shows how little they understand what is going on. Obama is one of the worst offenders.

  • Ephraim, Israel may excel at a lot of things but it is terribly bad at PR. The most radical voices appear to be the ones most likely to take the stage that is the international press, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that even comparatively well-informed Europeans are just as ignorant of the nuances of what is going on in that area as most US Americans are ignorant of the nuances of European culture and politics. People don’t see any real progress, and they do wonder why. Mind you, Europeans have seen in their lifetime that peace and coexistence with former enemies of centuries can be done if desired.

  • Well, at least we can agree on something that is so obvious that it cannot be denied: Israeli hasbara sucks.

    Other than that, I really think that cowardice and greed masquerading as pompous and self-important righteousness (and not a little anti-Semitism) is behind this.

    It absolutely reeks, no matter what anyone says about European maturity.

    The key to what you say is this: “peace and coexistence with former enemies of centuries can be done if desired”

    The key is desire. The Israelis have it, the Arabs don’t.

    Also, the peace that Europeans have created came only after they got so sick of murdering each other by the millions that they could no longer go on from sheer exhaustion and revulsion. When they looked at what they had done, they were so sickened by it that they will do anything to prevent another war.

    The price that was paid was the near-absolute destruction of Germany practically down to the last able-bodied man until the Nazi desire for conquest and murder was finally extirpated, at the cost of untold suffering and carnage. The Soviets alone lost more than 20 million people. But of course, you know all of this.

    THAT is the price that Europe paid for peace. And the only thing that makes it work is the fact that Nazism is well and truly dead (we hope).

    The Arabs have no suffered that kind of defeat, and their desire for murder and conquest is still alive and well. By aiding and abetting it, Europe is making war more likely, not less.

    • The point is that extremists among Palestinians have been better at selling their stories than moderates among Israelis. It doesn’t help that the majority of journalists tries to push their personal political views rather than report as unbiasedly as possible.

      There is anti-Semitism in Europe, no doubt, but luckily enough it is not widely orchestrated.

  • As I said, I agree with you that Israeli hasbara needs work, to put it mildly.

    Anti-Semitism in Europe may or may not be widely orchestrated, but the motivations for the high-handed EU decision to divide a city that does not belong to them doesn’t have to be motivated by a hatred of Jews to be anti-Semitic in effect.

    It’s like hate-crime laws, which I find stupid: if a guy murders another guy because he wants to steal his wallet, that’s just a felony. But if a guy murders another guy because he’s the wrong race, that’s a hate crime. It doesn’t matter to the dead guys: they’re both dead. What do they care about the reason they were killed?

    So with the EU: they may think they are fostering peace and justice by making a proposal to sanctify the Arabs’ ethnic cleansing of the Jewish quarter and their forced division of Jerusalem and illegal occupation of the eastern part of of the city, but it is, for all intents and purposes an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic act, since it attempts to re-institute and render legal one the most unjust, illegal, and anti-Semitic occupations of modern times.

    I don’t care WHY they’re doing it; I care THAT they’re doing it.

    On a more pleasant subject, I made a Sacher Torte the other day.

    Beyond awesome.

  • Sweet! What jam did you use?

    I bought a new waffle maker yesterday (the waffles feature the logo of my favourite football club; pictures are yet to come), and I’ll be doing lots of baking and making chocolates on Sunday.

  • Apricot, of course (homemade with apricots from our tree).

    There’s another way to do it?

    Do you know anything about Demel’s Sacher Torte? I’m dying to order one, but I don’t know if they use any weird stuff like gelatin or things like that or what goes on in the kitchen. Is there any way to find out?

  • Apricot is the classic way to do it. IIRC, you – or was it B-D – once told me about someone / a recipe that had suggested raspberry jam.

    I love the combination of oranges and dark chocolate, so I’d be willing to try that. (I made a marmelade of oranges, lemons and white grapes that could go well with that.)

    I’d never heard about Demel’s Sachertorte, so I’ve just googled it up. I can email them for you, if you like, to find out about the ingredients. US customs might be a bit of a problem though.

  • froylein and Ephraim should just get it over with and move to Brussels together.

  • I like Belgium, but I’m not going to move there for the sake of exchanging recipes. Plus Ephraim needs to stay where he is so Muffti might have the chance of having a positive rolemodel nearby.

  • If you could do that, I would appreciate it very much. It seems they ship all over the world, so I don’t think Customs would be a problem. For me, being able to eat the original Sacher Torte would be kind of like finding the Holy Grail.

    Belgium? I’m not going to live anywhere where the national dish is French fries with mayonnaise. Provencal aioli I could see, maybe, but just plain mayonnaise? Gaack.

    One of my other quests in life is to be able to go to the island of Bornholm on a clear, crisp winter day and have a “Bornholmer” (the alder-smoked herring made only there) right out of the smokehouse, with a chaser of aquavit. According to the cognoscenti, it is the best smoked herring to be had anywhere.

    One day, one day…..

  • They’ve also got aioli in Belgium; they just call it knoflooksaus. 🙂 Belgians are foodies. You can eat pretty well there even at budget places.

    Bornholm’s supposed to be very pretty. The natives are of French descent and therefore speak a dialect not related to Danish.
    You can get very good fish at the Baltic; go straight to the harbours as most fishermen’s unions sell right there. It doesn’t get fresher than that. I suggest you also try smoked mackerel with coarse pepper.

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