Friday, December 23, 2011

EU hypocrisy

Wednesday was the bloodiest day in Syria in 8 months, with an estimated 111 people killed by the Syrian army. Yet Israel's presumed European friends on the Security Council, Britain, Germany, France and Portugal did not condemn Syria, they took this moment to issue a statement condemning Israel. The reasons given were for continuing to build on the West Bank (including Jerusalem) and for the so-called "price tag" attacks on Mosques there. However, they failed to note that building is continuing because the Palestinians have repeatedly refused to enter direct negotiations with Israel and the "price tag" attacks have been carried out by a very small group of right wing extremists, who also attacked an IDF base and who are being arrested by the IDF.

PM Netanyahu had already spoken out forcefully against the attackers and stated that the full force of the law will be used against them and explicitly extended Israeli military law that is in force on the West Bank to these Israeli citizens. Furthermore, not a single person has been hurt or killed in these attacks, while blood is flowing profusely in Syria. What sheer hypocrisy! The EU SC members condemned these attacks as if they were carried out by the Israeli Government and did not even mention that the Israeli Government is strongly against these attacks. It's as if the US were condemned for white supremacist attacks against blacks or the British Government was condemned for the riots in British cities that were burnt down last summer.

Further, the EU statement called upon the two sides, Israel and the PA, to submit proposals of their views for the peaceful resolution of the conflict, without even mentioning the need for direct negotiations, as if the Security Council itself could resolve the conflict. They also ignored all previous UN positions that call for direct negotiations and ignored the current Quartet initiative that also calls for both sides to submit their proposals, but preparatory to direct negotiations. So why are these EU countries now meddling in this situation? Why do these EU countries shy away from resolutions condemning Iran and Syria, the real dangers to world peace, but attack Israel over what are in comparison relatively minor issues? One possible reason is that the EU countries wish to deflect attention from their own dire crisis by projecting attention onto Israel (this is popular) and also that if they need to pass a resolution on Syria they can then say they are being even-handed. On the other hand, it could simply be the result of endemic anti-Semitism. They are also taking this action while Iran is getting closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon, as stated yesterday by US Secty. of Defense Leon Panetta, who said they were about a year away from succeeding.

Israel and the US reacted strongly to this EU initiative in the UN SC. Israel issued a statement criticizing the EU nations for condemning democratic Israel, while taking action against extremists, and for taking in effect the complete Palestinian position. The US also reacted strongly and supported the Israeli position, pointing out that this initiative undermines the Quartet and all current attempts to bring about direct negotiations. Why would these US allies take this unilateral action without at least consulting the US Administration in advance? It makes no real sense, it was a cheap shot! All it does is give the Palestinians more hope that by avoiding direct negotiations they will eventually be given their own state on a platter without having to resolve any outstanding issues with Israel.


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