Friday

23rd Feb 2018

Israeli leader mocks EU 'dismay'

  • 13th century German map showing Jerusalem at the centre of the world (Photo: leuphana.de)

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has mocked EU foreign ministers' "dismay" over his plan to split Palestine in three and to take away its capital.

The right-wing politician on Monday (10 December) told press in Jerusalem that EU ministers were talking nonsense when they said that creating 3,000 new settler homes in the so-called E1 district is a huge threat to peace.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"I don't understand how people say that a Palestinian state cannot exist if Maale Adumim is connected to Jerusalem ... These are the same people who say that you'll have a Palestinian state between Gaza and the West Bank, and they're divided by 60-70km," he said.

"That's fine, that doesn't preclude a Palestinian state in their minds but the fact that Maale Adumim can be connected to Jerusalem by a corridor of 2-3km, [the EU says] that somehow prevents a Palestinian state. That's not true. It's simply false," he noted.

"If you repeat a falsehood endlessly, it assumes the cache of truth," he added.

The names E1 and Maale Adumim are unfamiliar to average Europeans who have not studied the map of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Maale Adumim is one of the existing Israeli settlements which together form a near-complete ring around East Jerusalem. E1 is the last gap in the ring - a patch of barren hills inhabited by a few Bedouin tribesmen.

If Netanyahu builds on E1 it will seal off East Jerusalem and split the West Bank in half.

It means that the future Palestinian state would lose its holy capital.

The 290,000-or-so Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem would become stateless people who reside in Israel but without Israeli citizenship.

It also means the rest of Palestine would be split into three cantons. One of them would be the Gaza strip on the Mediterranean coast. The other two would be the north West Bank and the south West Bank.

The only ways to get from the main economic centre of Ramallah in the north to Bethlehem in the south would be via a 16-metre-wide Israeli-controlled road running through the Israeli ring, or by driving for several hours on an as-yet-unbuilt road through the Judaean desert to the east of the ring.

The EU ministers in their communique on Monday said they are "deeply dismayed" by the idea, because it "would seriously undermine the prospects of a negotiated resolution of the conflict by jeopardizing the possibility of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state and of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states."

For their part, two Israeli experts said that it is Netanyahu who is talking nonsense.

"If you tell me there can be an agreement between Israel and Palestine without Jerusalem, I'll ask: 'What have you been smoking?'," Danny Seideman, a lawyer who set up the Israeli-based NGO, Terrestrial Jerusalem, told EUobserver.

"If he [Netanyahu] says that he can make peace like this, then he is telling the Israeli public lies," Hagit Ofran, a project director in the Israeli-based NGO Peace Now, said.

The EU ministers also threatened to "act accordingly" if Netanyahu does not back down, highlighting Israeli settlement products as an area for potential punitive action.

For Seideman, the threat of Israel's increasing international isolation pales into insignficance compared to the threat of war with Palestine, however.

The EU statement also criticised Hamas - a Palestinian militant group which holds sway in Gaza - after its leader Khaled Meshal last weekend called for the destruction of Israel at a rally attended by more than 100,000 people.

"The EU finds inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel's right to exist unacceptable," it said.

But EU diplomats know that Netanyahu's E1 plan is likely to make Hamas the dominant force in the West Bank as well as in Gaza. The plan makes Hamas' rival, the Fatah party - which has staked its reputation on diplomacy and a two-state solution - look stupid.

In the last exchange of fire in November, Hamas rockets hit the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

In the last war with Hamas' ally Hezbollah in neighbouring Lebanon in 2006, over 160 Israeli citizens lost their lives.

In the last intifada, or mass Palestinian uprising, which ended in 2005, over 1,000 Israeli citizens were killed.

Meanwhile, the Hamas-linked Muslim Brotherhood has taken power in Israel's southern neighbour, Egypt. Its eastern neighbour, Jordan, has become dangerously unstable. Its other neighbour, Syria, has been penetrated by jihadist warlords and its main regional enemy, Iran, is believed by some Western intelligence experts to already have a nuclear bomb.

"This is not a drill. This is not a psychodrama. This is a geopolitical drama of the highest order. Netanyahu is not posturing. He is thrusting forward to what he believes is the best settlement for Israel's final borders," Seideman told this website.

"The Israeli public is sipping cappucinos on the edge of a volcano," he added.

Israel vs. Palestine: one-nil?

Israel last month showed off its high-tech weapons by scoring a "goal" with bombs in a Gaza football field. But civilian deaths and settlement expansion have caused diplomatic defeats.

UN vote marks EU defeat for Israel

Just one EU country - the Czech Republic - voted against Palestine's bid to become a UN "observer state" on Thursday.

Opinion

EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy

Not extending the EU fisheries deal with Morocco to fish off the disputed coast of Western Sahara could deprive the Sahrawi people of much-needed income - and throw into question future EU foreign policy in the name of human rights.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  2. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  3. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  4. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired
  5. Luxembourg and Ireland pay highest minimum wages
  6. Freedom of expression under threat in Spain, warn MEPs
  7. Report: EU to increase sanctions on Myanmar
  8. Juncker 'worried' by Italian elections

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  2. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  4. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  5. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  7. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  8. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  10. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  11. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  2. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  3. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  4. European far-right political party risks collapse
  5. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table
  6. EU leaders to kick off post-Brexit budget debate
  7. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme
  8. Frontex: Europe's new law enforcement agency?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  3. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  4. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  5. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  8. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  10. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  12. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?