Why Israel No Longer Trusts Europe – Clemens Wergin (New York Times)
In February, the German politician Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, addressed the Israeli Knesset and implied that Israel is purposely depriving Palestinians of their basic needs. The EU recently adopted guidelines forbidding its agencies to send money to Israeli companies and organizations in the West Bank; this and other similar steps apply a double standard it doesn’t use in other conflicts. Europe has lost the measure of how one-sided its approach has become.
It is striking that Europe always comes to the Israelis with demands for concessions when it has itself such a bad track record at helping resolve problems in the region. After the 2006 Lebanon war, European nations took over large parts of the UN mission to prevent weapons smuggling to Hizbullah. On their watch the terrorist group acquired tens of thousands of new and more sophisticated rockets.
Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon resulted not in the disarming of Hizbullah, as many European experts had predicted, but in a heavily armed Iranian proxy sitting directly at Israel’s border. We’ve seen much the same in Gaza.
Despite these discouraging experiences, every Israeli military action against radicals in Gaza or Lebanon is met with protests in Europe. This doesn’t inspire confidence in Israeli leaders that Europe would accept Israel’s right to self-defense if a future Palestinian state in the West Bank became a similar hotbed of extremism and revisionist politics.
According to the Pew Research Center, only 41% of Israelis had a favorable view of the EU in 2013, down from 56% in 2009.
If all Europe has to offer Israel is criticism and disapproval, then it will be part of the problem, not the solution.
The writer is the foreign editor of the German newspaper group Die Welt.
(Click on the article’s title to see the whole article…Ed.)