By Freddy Eitan
Ever since the famous Venice Declaration on June 13, 1980, the nine European states that signed off on it at the time and 27 current EU countries haven’t changed their position toward Israel, and have always harshly condemned it on matters relating to the Palestinians.
The Venice Declaration states: “The nine stress that they will not accept any unilateral initiative designed to change the status of Jerusalem … that the Israeli settlements constitute a serious obstacle to the peace process in the Middle East. The nine consider that these settlements, as well as modifications in population and property in the occupied Arab territories, are illegal under international law.”
Three decades have passed of hearing the same old tune, the same story with the same preaching of morality. And yet, despite all this, there are still countries in Europe, like Britain and France, who control territories across the ocean that are thousands of miles away from their own capitals.
When the Palestinians make a unilateral decision, as they did at the U.N. General Assembly last month, their initiative is seen as legitimate and is welcomed. But when the Jewish state builds new apartments in Jerusalem, its capital, or in a “disputed” area, European condemnation is never long to follow. They become irate and in their anger they threaten us, Lord have mercy, with recalling their ambassadors and with more severe sanctions.
Is this logic not twisted? Isn’t this hypocritical? Doesn’t it display a basic lack of understanding about what is happening on a daily basis on the ground?
Why don’t the Europeans clearly state the actual truth – we are terrified of the economic crisis, from the waves of Muslim immigration washing over our countries; we are worried about terrorist attacks and we have no choice but to follow the Muslims’ dictates and surrender to their blackmail; we are forced to continue to trade with states rich in oil and gas, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, at the expense of our friendship with Israel.
Throughout the latest automatic voting session at the U.N., France played a key role in persuading other European countries to vote in favor of the Palestinian initiative. Since then-President Charles de Gaulle’s infamous embargo against Israel in 1967, France has always sought to “punish” the nation that he called “this elite people, sure of themselves and domineering.”
From 1948 to the present day the U.N. has been helpless to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The latest vote in favor of the Palestinians displays the absurdity of the ridiculous diplomatic institution. By November 1974, when he appeared in public with a pistol in his belt, Yasser Arafat was already a superstar in this theater of the absurd.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, like his predecessor, preferred shortcuts along the path toward peace and ignored the importance of direct dialogue, essentially putting the cart before the horse. And then, when Israel responds, Abbas and the Europeans become irate and wonder why we take “unilateral” actions.
They must understand that the Jewish state is sovereign and will protect its interests through fire and water, even at great cost. The countries of Europe must know that any unilateral initiative will always lead to a harsh response by us, because we don’t have any other countries across the ocean to which we can go.
The writer is the director of the Israel-Europe Project at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a former ambassador.
Source: ISRAEL HAYOM