The Foreign Ministers of France and Spain, Kouchner and Moratinos, were told to take a running jump by their Israeli opposite number Avigdor Lieberman when he met them last Sunday. They put the case for a two-state solution, arguing that the failure to establish a Palestinian state would undermine Israel’s security. The response they got was total dismissal. “Israel will not be the Czechoslovakia of 2010,” said Lieberman, making clear that he regards all Palestinian land as belonging to Israel. He then ignored all diplomatic niceties by leaking details of the exchange to the media.
The Europeans should have stopped kidding themselves long ago and accepted that the Israeli government hasn’t the slightest intention of agreeing to a two-state solution. Now it is preparing the ground to defend a system of apartheid between Jews and non-Jews for years to come. Netanyahu told the Knesset on 10 October: “If the Palestinian leadership will unequivocally say to its people that it recognises Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, I will be ready to convene my government and ask for another suspension of construction (of settlements on Palestinian land) for a fixed period. Because the Palestinians expect us to recognise the Palestinian state as their nation-state, we can expect them to recognise the Jewish state as our nation-state.”
If Palestinians were to accept Netanyahu’s latest ruse they would condemn their people forever to live in a land where Jews would have rights as citizens and non-Jews would be condemned forever to be serfs, lucky if they had even some limited and uncertain privileges. The principle would apply just as much to the Greater Israel now being created as to the one confined by 1967 borders.
The thief has his hands in the open desk and is stealing the contents. It is plain for all to see, but the EU stands to one side, wagging its finger and saying “you really shouldn’t do that.” It is pathetic.
Europe’s governments should slam down the desk lid and crush the thief’s fingers.
The EU should back up its fine words with some firm deeds, suspending the Association Agreement that provides for preferential dealings with Israel until the illegal building of settlements on occupied territory is stopped. Only then will Israel pay attention. As Lieberman told the press after his meeting: “In the reality of the Middle East, only the strong survive.”
Will the EU act? Not a chance. The guilt of history stays us from curbing Israeli injustice today. We are weak, weak, weak.