Friday

28th Feb 2020

Opinion

Trump's 'plan' for Israel will go against EU values

  • Europe should end its diplomatic paralysis in order to prevent a bigger crisis: recognising the state of Palestine is one of the first steps they can take in order to move forward. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Based on the first days of 2020, this year may become a dramatic turning point in our region.

Three years of a catastrophic foreign policy by the Donald Trump administration, and almost the same period of time of European paralysis in the Middle East, the consequences of not taking action to advance the cause of peace and security are coming out every day.

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Now there are signs that the Trump administration may finally release its "plan". A gift to Netanyahu's campaign that will further undermine the prospects of peace in the region.

One of the active cards played by Benjamin Netanyahu in his electoral campaign has been his foreign policy successes.

While his uninterrupted government of almost 10 years has provoked an unprecedented increase in violations of international law and UN resolutions, several foreign governments have continued to protect him.

Even if they have publicly disagreed with those Israeli policies, these governments have done nothing but empowering those who have done everything possible to destroy the prospects of peace.

Such endorsements continue to roll in from the Trump Administration and the Australian government to some governments in Europe: Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Germany and the United Kingdom, just to mention some, are examples of governments that have lobbied or taken positions in international organisations against accountability measures for Israel's systematic violations of international law and UN resolutions.

We remain invisible in European-Israeli relations. The Jewish nation-state law that allows the right to self-determination to Jewish citizens alone and downgrades the Arabic language, in addition to dozens of discriminatory laws against the Palestinian non-Jewish citizens of Israel, has not succeeded yet to provoke any significant change in European circles.

On the contrary, in a clear tweet posted on 10 January, the chancellor of Austria wrote: "Many thanks to PM Netanyahu for our very good phone call. I stressed Austria's full support to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and our commitment to Israel's security".

Also, British finance minister Sajid Javid stated: "when I look at Israel, it is a country that aligns with all of our values."

And at a local level, and ahead of Israeli elections of April 2019, the EU representative to Israel published an op-ed in a right-wing Israeli media outlet stating that: "Israel and the EU are getting closer, and we feel there is still more to offer."

Hence, the message to Israeli voters is clear: violate international law, be a racist against your citizens, and Israel's stand vis-à-vis the rest of the world will continue to improve. This is precisely what Israel's right-wing government coalition is offering.

Israel's leading trade partners, the EU and its member states, should and can do more.

Luxembourg lead

Accordingly, a serious discussion of the letter sent by the foreign minister of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn on the recognition of the state of Palestine should lead to countries that haven't recognised this political reality to do so.

Those who believe in a future of peace and coexistence rather than the current reality of oppression and systematic denial of Palestinian rights, demand such a positive message.

Other actions include: making clear that the European Union does not endorse the institutionalised discrimination against the Palestinian citizens of Israel - and rejecting Israel's intimidation to stop funding for Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations. Israeli settlements shouldn't continue to benefit from Israel's diplomatic relations.

The European Union and its member states should make it clear for Israel that there is an international urgency for it to alter its illegal path.

As someone who has been personally targeted by Netanyahu's incitement against Arabs and Palestinians, Christians, Muslims and Druze, I still believe that peace is possible.

But it will not happen as far as those who oppose the basic foundations of regional security and coexistence, including through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and ensuring equality for all Israeli citizens, continue to receive a green light to perpetuate its impunity.

As far as EU representatives continue to praise "share values" between Israel and the EU and stress upon their commitment not to take any actions on Israel's systematic violations of international law and against the rights of its own Arab Palestinian citizens, it will continue to strengthen Netanyahu's electoral campaign.

The Trump administration may unveil its "plan", and this may provoke another crisis as it will not be based on the minimum requirements of peace, standing against everything the European Union has stood for: international law, multilateralism and equality.

Europe should end its diplomatic paralysis in order to prevent a bigger crisis: recognising the state of Palestine is one of the first steps they can take in order to move forward.

Author bio

Dr Ahmad Tibi is a member of the Israeli parliament and leader of a faction of the Joint List and a doctor.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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