Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The EU, Israel and International Law: A Blueprint for Peace

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The EU, Israel and International Law: A Blueprint for Peace

Article excerpt

The International Forum for Justice and Peace (IFJP) selected as its principal aim promoting lasting peace between Israel and the emerging State of Palestine. Its two points of departure are international law and the Israeli claim to be a Western state.

The European Perspective

Israel is, geographically speaking, a small country. Considerable inequality in political, economic and social rights exists between Jewish groupings from Western Europe, Russia and the Arab world. Bedouins and Arab Israelis live in even worse conditions. Israel does not separate church and state. Hence Jewish democracy, with exclusive rabbinical power over birth, marriage and death, is a contradiction in terms.

Israel is highly dependent on external military and economic aid, mostly from private and official sources in the United States and, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, directly and indirectly from Europe. Without these inputs, it should be considered a failed state.

From Israel's foreign policy perspective, the realization of the Zionist ideal of creating a Jewish State, the Palestinian territories included, takes center stage. As a result, the identity of the Palestinian people is being destroyed in a comprehensive and decades-long strategy. Israel's refusal to make peace is all too obvious-that would mean the end of the Zionist dream. Although this policy is unsustainable, the EU nonetheless doggedly condones and even actively supports it.

Israeli foreign policies also aim at weakening surrounding Arab states and Iran-if necessary, with military might. Israel is the military heavyweight in the region. Palestine apart, its military power is limited to just incidental incursions abroad.

The U.S. administration has adopted the doctrine of "rogue states." These possess weapons of mass destruction illegally, suppress large populations, torture, keep people in detention on a large scale and commit murder outside their national borders. Presently, the U.S. considers Syria, Iran and North Korea to be members of the "Axis of Evil."

Israel has adopted as a strategy land and water grabs, the destruction of Palestinian infrastructure (including in security, education and health), the carrying out of extraterritorial executions, torture, collective punishments and keeping a million people in prison in Gaza and thousands of Palestinians imprisoned indefinitely without charge or prosecution. According to U.S. criteria, Israel has, ever since its establishment, been a monumental rogue state and a highly active member of the Axis of Evil. Is Israel important for Europe? Hardly-no more so than, say, the Lebanon. Economic interests are modest at most. Political assets are virtually nonexistent. Liabilities abound.

Israel's foreign policies are nothing less than a disaster for Europe. The Middle East is an important, but sensitive, neighboring region:

* Constant energy flows from the Middle East to Europe are vital. Europe's favorite, Israel, plays a negative role in this equation;

* The community of 1.4 billion Muslims-quite a few of them citizens in the inner cities of EU member states-is deeply upset by Europe's continuous support of Israel and its aggression against the Palestinian people and its institutions;

* The present political and financial isolation of Palestine by the Western world creates a political vacuum. Already irritated Muslim countries and dubious groupings are eager to fill the gap, seriously reducing the Western world's leverage in that part of the world;

* The Muslim world is equally enraged by the invasion of Iraq, [which] allegedly ignored four U.N. Security Council resolutions. Israel has ignored 33 resolutions, risking no retaliation whatsoever;

* Violations of the law committed by Israel against the Palestinian population are not the sole, but certainly one explanation of the fury among 1.4 billion Muslims worldwide. …

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