The EU and Israel

iBrian

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A little geopolitics here:

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,1564,1361070,00.html

A confidential report from the Israeli Foreign Ministry has predicted relations with the European Union could further deteriorate in future, hitting Israel economically and diplomatically.

The report points to the "possibility of a deterioration in relations," one of the report's authors told the EUobserver Web site on Wednesday.

According to Israeli press reports, the document, a ten-year forecast prepared by Israel's foreign ministry, states that Israel and the EU find themselves on a collision course which would cause serious economic and diplomatic damage to the country. "Such a collision course holds the risk of Israel losing international legitimacy and could lead to its isolation in the manner of South Africa," the report read.

"It is a prognosis of the general outline of the international environment in the future... it is us looking into the crystal ball", the report's author said. "Everyone is aware of the importance of the relations with Europe."

There are said to be no recommendations in the report.

The EU and Israel have been at loggerheads for months over the implementation of a Middle East peace plan and the construction of Israel's security barrier. Israel also regards Europe as a bulwark of pro-Palestinian sentiment and has long complained of what it sees as growing anti-Semitism in Europe.

The report does send a strong signal to the Israeli government however, that, faced with an EU which is ever more prominent on the international scene, relations with Europe have to improve. The report also warns that influence over world politics by the US, Israel's most important ally, could diminish as the EU's role grows, German daily Berliner Zeitung reported on Thursday.

However, efforts are on to strengthen ties. The EU and Israel recently concluded negotiations on a new bilateral agreement paving the way for deeper relations between the two sides. EU officials believe "everything besides EU membership" for Israel could be possible, according to Berliner Zeitung.



But diplomats described some aspects of negotiations as tense.

Israel was the last of the eight countries involved in this round of 'European Neighbourhood' talks to conclude negotiations.
 
Israel

The EU and Israel have been at loggerheads for months over the implementation of a Middle East peace plan and the construction of Israel's security barrier. Israel also regards Europe as a bulwark of pro-Palestinian sentiment and has long complained of what it sees as growing anti-Semitism in Europe.
I'd like to be controversial here and show a bit of European pro-Palesinian sentiment. This is my comment about Zionism and Israel in general:

I see nothing wrong with Jews moving to the middle east, to go back to their roots - living with their history around them (although a bit sad to see them leave). But I do have a problem with Zionists deciding that the country they have located is theirs. Why can't Zionists live in Israel with Palestinians and except them as equals. They may not share the same beliefs, but that doesn't mean Palestinians must be removed from the country! What justifys demolishing peoples houses? Giving them a few minutes warning to get out.

from the guardian pg2 October 18 2004
With the destruction comes death. In July, a 75-year-old man in a wheelchair, Ibrahim Halfalla, was crushed to death under the rubble of his Khan Yunis home by an army bulldozer because he did not get out in time.
That is what europe doesn't like about Israel. You cannot call me anti-semitic because I do not criticise jews for who they are, but for what they do. It is a big difference.

IMO Israel needs some good telling off. I do not understand how Zionist can believe in God and pray to God and say they live a good and honest life when they don't treat the palestinians with respect. Zionists can not call people racist(or antisemitc) When they seem to have a permenent grudge against palestinians for living in the wrong place. Zionists toy with being God deciding who will live where and how many Palestinians can live in this part of the world.

I apoligise to all the Zionists and Jews who are respecting palestinians and who are doing something to make peace but from England the message from Israel is only of Hate and Repression.

When I first saw pictures of the Gaza strip I was horrified because it reminded me so strongly of the Concerntrations camps in Nazi Germany.
Tank vs Civilian
Balatacamp240503WBRR2.jpg


Peace
 
Re: Israel

Indeed, I quite agree Kaspar - in fact, I don't think there are many Jews on this forum who are particular fans of Ariel Sharon's heavy-handedness.
 
Re: Israel

no, never been a fan of fat arik myself. however, i find myself at present in the unpleasant position of saying that he's probably the only person that can get israel out of gaza right now, forget the west bank for the moment. unfortunately there is a significant minority that seems prepared to do almost anything to stop him - it is threatening to tear society apart, starting with the army. it is starting to really worry people like myself.

adding into this mix is the growing international isolation of israel. it's as bad now as it's ever been to my PoV. at any rate the israeli foreign ministry has recognised that if it continues to deteriorate, israel will be as ostracised as south africa was in ten years. to my way of thinking, they're not doing nearly enough to stop it - and this is pretty much because they don't actually care what europeans say about them, because europeans have never lifted a finger to protect them, whilst excusing the palestinians virtually everything.

as for more specific things; it's not about numbers. OK, the israelis knocked this guy's house down and killed him. yes, it's negligent, even brutal, if you like - but it is not their *policy* to kill innocent bystanders. when terrorists set up a rocket launcher or bomb factory in a flat next door to a family, they are effectively using their own people as human shields. i don't see anybody criticising them for that. and at least sometimes, israeli soldiers get prosecuted by israeli courts for stuff like this.

and as for the gaza/concentration camp simile, there are few things more ill-judged and less conducive to discussion than this obscene accusation. let's look at a few differences:

in the concentration camps, the prisoners did not have stones, let alone guns, bombs or rocket launchers.
in gaza, the israelis are not systematically gassing and cremating the palestinians, nor are they working them to death as slaves or performing horrifying medical experiments on them.
in the concentration camps, the nazis did not allow the press, aid agencies, human rights organisations, observers or indeed anyone to know what was going on.
nor are the israelis conducting a war to take over the entire middle east at the same time.

if you can't tell the difference between gaza and auschwitz, i suggest you shut the hell up until you've grown some critical faculties. bad though it is, occupation is not genocide. to suggest that it is in any way comparable is simply ridiculous.

to sum up, i don't think israel is doing itself any favours at the moment, but at least half of them are trying to get themselves out of the mess they're in. if you think sharon is bad, you should see the alternatives.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
Respect Bananabrain

I didn't mean to go that deep.

There is some truth though in what i say.
as for the gaza/concentration camp simile, there are few things more ill-judged and less conducive to discussion than this obscene accusation.
I see

I apologise for throwing such heavy accusations around.

Palestinians all over the world have been labled terrorists but my point is that were they terrorists before Israel expanded over the 1967 boaders? Was there a Hamas before then? I say that Israels has made their Enemies to use as a justification for the expanding of settlements. Lots of peaceful palestinians have come along and been assasinated by Israel.

adding into this mix is the growing international isolation of israel. it's as bad now as it's ever been to my PoV. at any rate the israeli foreign ministry has recognised that if it continues to deteriorate, israel will be as ostracised as south africa was in ten years. to my way of thinking, they're not doing nearly enough to stop it - and this is pretty much because they don't actually care what europeans say about them, because europeans have never lifted a finger to protect them, whilst excusing the palestinians virtually everything.
and from what does Israel need to be protected? Terrorism? The Israels do whatever they want about Terrorism demolish your house cause you gave soldiers a dirty look. You say it isn't about numbers but thats where I disagree. Israel withdraws 7000 Jews from Gaza and demolishes 9000 palestinian houses for security. It might get rid of the guns, rockets, smuggling tunnels and bombs but it won't get rid of the hatred.

peace
 
May I add something here?

The Palestinian terrorists are using "lawfare" (the law as warfare.) Some of the suicide bombers had claimed "medical need" to cross the border into Israel or used legitimate Israeli ambulances to cross into Israel (hey, would you stop a State supported ambulance that was traveling full alert?) for their acts of destruction. Because of one of the Palestinian suicide bombers, two Palestinians who really needed medical help were refused (both the 10 month old and the elderly Palestinians died in the West Bank because they couldn't receive the attention they required.) Yet, when Israel enacts measures to protect its citizens from things like this, they are accused of human rights violations.

I'm not saying that the Jewish sector is without their mamzers (a member of the JDL sent a stuffed toy to a Palestinian school or camp [don't remember exactly] that contained a bomb, so the Jewish community isn't completely filled with angels.)

When the human rights groups and members of Starhawk's group have to undergo the manure that Israelis (and not just the Jewish population, but also the Arab, the Christian and the Armenian populations), we'll talk. When the members of the EU have to undergo the manure that the Israelis have to, we'll talk (not the members of this board but you understand what I mean, don't you?)

*climbs off soapbox, breaks it up and tosses it into the recycling bin, then heads straight for the feline colony offstage.*

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
 
Here's an open question, then - will the withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza Strip actually contribute anything in terms of peace?


And here's a reflective peace of irony - wasn't Ariel Sharon significantly responsibly for the Israeli army taking the Gaza Strip in the '67 war?
 
There is some truth though in what i say
i have no objection to things that i do not find untruthful. the accusation that the israelis are acting like nazis is particularly hurtful (which is no doubt why it's made) and particularly untrue, for the reasons outlined above. if you'd have said the same thing about the rwandans, or the chinese in tibet, or the janjawid in darfur, you might have some cause. wholesale, wanton murder is neither israeli policy nor israeli practice - although disregard for the safety of bystanders and itchy trigger fingers seem to be more and more common. don't think it doesn't bother the israelis - but do you see anyone on the other side lifting a finger to condemn their "own"? not bloody much. that ought to tell you something. so should the difference between those who use suicide bombers and those who don't.

Palestinians all over the world have been labelled terrorists but my point is that were they terrorists before Israel expanded over the 1967 borders?
have you ever heard of the fedayeen? i don't know when the word "terrorist" first entered public discourse, but to my mind it denotes people who specifically target noncombatants and blur the lines between official and non-official combatants as much as possible. in this case, the policy of the palestinian organisations from the establishment of the state of israel in 1948 was to slip across the pre-67 border and infiltrate kibbutzim and other isolated areas in order to, well, terrorise people. this is on a micro level, whereas the macro level was the standing armies of the arab nations waiting for the moment to invade.

and as for palestinians all over the world being labelled terrorists; it's not just palestinians and, anyway, this is a stereotype, like americans being ignorant, overprivileged, trigger-happy cowboys, or the french being cheese-eating surrender monkeys, or the israelis being brutal, repressive child murderers. it doesn't really help anything or anyone apart from journalists and propagandists. all i can do is try and work to humanise people - the same way as when people in my own community start with the "palestinians=terrorists" thing, i have to be able to say to myself and them "what about my friends muhammad and rania?" in the knowledge they're doing the same thing on the other side "what about my friend bananabrain? i wouldn't want someone to murder him!" we can't do this without contact and personalisation - which means dialogue has to happen. i am not an apologist for every death the IDF causes - or fails to prevent. nor do i think the palestinians are powerless to change how they do things.

Was there a Hamas before then?
actually, hamas was more or less set up by the israelis when they were trying to encourage alternative leadership for the palestinians from the PLO in tunis. needless to say, it has backfired spectacularly, a fact the israelis are more than aware of. if you mean were there fundamentalists before, then absolutely. the muslim brotherhood was one of the earliest groups to emerge as a threat - and not only in israel, but in arab countries as well.

I say that the Israelis have made their Enemies to use as a justification for the expanding of settlements.
what about before 1967? nobody was interested in peace with them before. in fact, nobody was interested until it became apparent that they were never going to be able to beat the israeli army. not to mention that you could just as easily say that the arab countries have kept the palestinians in refugee camps and supported the palestinian cause without actually doing anything to solve it. blaming israel for everything removes their responsibility to do anything to improve the lives of their people.

Lots of peaceful palestinians have come along and been assassinated by Israel.
name one. i'm trying to think of one. and i can't. in fact, the peaceniks tend to get murdered by their own hardliners - remember what happened to sadat? or king abdullah I? no, i dare say you don't.

and from what does Israel need to be protected? Terrorism?
if you can't go for a pizza or a coffee without worrying that someone in the place is going to explode, i would say it would make you fairly keen on protecting youreself. and there, we're not talking about settlements, but tel aviv and jerusalem, inside the green line. what these spokesmen for the terrorist groups don't mention is that when they talk about "settlements", they mean EVERYWHERE - because according to them, border or no border, green line or no green line, every israeli to them is a "settler". it's total doublespeak.

The Israels do whatever they want about Terrorism
without managing to abolish it, unfortunately. which leads them to the idea of building a wall.

demolish your house cause you gave soldiers a dirty look.
oh for goodness' sake. firing a rocket into sderot and beer sheva from a residential block is NOT a "dirty look". but then again it's a win-win for the terrorists. either nothing happens, which encourages them (to the middle-eastern way of thinking) or the israelis kill bystanders and they get more support.

they You say it isn't about numbers but thats where I disagree. Israel withdraws 7000 Jews from Gaza and demolishes 9000 palestinian houses for security.
firstly, i don't know where you got those numbers and secondly, moving out the settlers should remove the need to demolish houses. do you want them out or not? i certainly do.

It might get rid of the guns, rockets, smuggling tunnels and bombs but it won't get rid of the hatred.
no, you're quite right. but the israelis have now got to a dangerous point where they feel that whatever they do people will hate them, so why should they make an effort any more, when doing so puts them in even more danger? this is where the idea of the wall comes from. build a big wall so that you can keep the hate out. unfortunately they have fecked it up by trying to pull a fast one on the route, but the israeli supreme court and a lot of other people are at least trying to do something about that - plus a wall can be moved, or even knocked down eventually. but hey, guess what? there are a whole bunch of people who are going to use the wall as an excuse to hate them. there's no way they can reclaim the moral high ground that doesn't involve them making themselves vulnerable to murder. but then again, we all know that that's how people seem to like their jews - mild, bookish and with a big target painted on them.

sheesh. it would be understandable to just avoid getting involved with this, but like an idiot i am trying to promote dialogue.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
bananabrain said:
sheesh. it would be understandable to just avoid getting involved with this, but like an idiot i am trying to promote dialogue.
Not an idiot, I respect you for giving me a some good feedback. I'm just surrounded by alot of pro-palestinians so for me the pro-palestine arguements come quick to the tounge.

You're right about promoting dialogue and "contact and personalisation" It is definiatly the way to bring people together.

You've definatly made me think twice before damning Israel again.

Peace
 
Stupid thought/idea: Why not start a program like was started for the children of Ireland (I don't rmember when it was started or if it is even still in existance)? Do you remember the program where children from Irish Catholic and Irish Protestant homes were sent to families in the US (or somewhere like that), but of the "other side". An Irish Catholic child would live with a Protestant family, but still attend a Catholic church and vice versa.

What I was thinking of is have Palestinian or Arab children live for a while with Jewish families and have Jewish children live with Palestinian or Arab families (all prescreened, of course so nobody's in danger.) If we can nip hatred in the bud, we might have more cooperation in destroying groups like Hamas and JDL without having to kill anybody. True, it isn't a quick-fix, but... *heads for mope corner*

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
 
Good comments, Bananabrain. :)

If it's not stating the bleedin' obvious, I think a lot of the current frsutration comes from a comparison of Israel under Rabin - which seems to have taken some real measure of success along the peace route via dialogue - as opposed to Sharon's policy of no tolerance.

I have to admit, it seems rather an incredible shift since Rabin was killed. Did Israel's hopes of a negotiated peace really die with him? By that I mean in terms of general public opinion.
 
I'm just surrounded by alot of pro-palestinians so for me the pro-palestine arguments come quick to the tongue
well, they're arguments that should be addressed and, for the most part, they really can be.

You're right about promoting dialogue and "contact and personalisation" It is definitely the way to bring people together.
that is my belief and, in my experience, it is the only thing that works.

You've definitely made me think twice before damning Israel again.
well, thank G!D. if only i had a better soapbox. don't forget though, i'm not in this *just* to defend israel. i'm in it to help israel become a better place and worthy of what they aspired to be in their declaration of independence, a "light unto the nations" - which they are right now doing a fairly lousy job of if you ask me.

for me, the bottom line is this - *does it help everyone* in the long run? if not, then ask yourself what purpose the attacking and propagandising does. this is what annoys me so much about the approaches that i disagree with - they are all about *distracting* us from the solution by providing us with a cause that by its simplicity provokes an emotional reaction of anger, rather than a reasoned response of action and resolution

Why not start a program like was started for the children of Ireland (I don't rmember when it was started or if it is even still in existance)? Do you remember the program where children from Irish Catholic and Irish Protestant homes were sent to families in the US (or somewhere like that), but of the "other side". An Irish Catholic child would live with a Protestant family, but still attend a Catholic church and vice versa.
yes, this is being done via approaches like neve shalom and the activities of the new israel fund and ta'ayush organisations. however, international condemnation of israel makes it difficult for people to get involved in case people pillory them for associating with israel in any way - and this strengthens the case for the isolationists on both sides. unfortunately there is so little trust at the moment, together with the separation strategy, that it is very, very difficult to sustain these projects.

I think a lot of the current frustration comes from a comparison of Israel under Rabin - which seems to have taken some real measure of success along the peace route via dialogue - as opposed to Sharon's policy of no tolerance.
well, i have to say that a lot of this is, in retrospect, kind of wishful thinking, since neither rabin nor barak (nor any labour government) ever actually dismantled a single settlement. although we are pretty sure they would both have got round to it eventually. fact, sharon starts to look more and more like he's capable of making the difference; he seems to actually have made the shift from supporting settlements to taking on the settlers head-on. and, lest we forget, sharon was the one who evacuated yamit in the sinai - which the settlers remember very well. as people are starting to say, maybe he is "nixon going to china", as it were.

I have to admit, it seems rather an incredible shift since Rabin was killed. Did Israel's hopes of a negotiated peace really die with him? By that I mean in terms of general public opinion.
it was that a sizeable part of public opinion never agreed to oslo in the first place - and oslo frightened them, so they have spent the last ten years trying to take control of the levers of power and mobilising their strength. in contrast, the left has been in disarray, betrayed by arafat and the "lack of a partner" and the country as a whole feeling that without rabin's moral authority nobody had the stature to take the job on.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
bananabrain said:
well, i have to say that a lot of this is, in retrospect, kind of wishful thinking, since neither rabin nor barak (nor any labour government) ever actually dismantled a single settlement. although we are pretty sure they would both have got round to it eventually. fact, sharon starts to look more and more like he's capable of making the difference; he seems to actually have made the shift from supporting settlements to taking on the settlers head-on.
Certainly Rabin would have had challenges ahead - it was more his spirit of compromise that seems to have particularly appealed - but, indeed, with hindsight.

Barak never seemed to really care to take on the process, but he possibly quickly saw that Arafat gained more from the posturing than groundwork.

It's funny you mention about Sharon, though - whilst his tactics have been somewhat hard to be sure, sometimes I wonder if he isn't doing at least a few things right.
 
Certainly Rabin would have had challenges ahead - it was more his spirit of compromise that seems to have particularly appealed
actually, i think in israeli terms it's more that he had such an outstanding reputation as "mr tough security general guy" that he could sell concessions a "weaker" leader (like peres) couldn't. that's the way sharon appears to be playing this - you should read the interview he did with haaretz newspaper for this context. basically, a whole sharon-watching industry has built up around the following questions:

a. has the "leopard changed his spots"
b. is he serious when he talks about "painful concessions"
c. is he strong enough to take on the extreme right?

unfortunately, the european press only ever concentrates on his record as a war leader and his disgraceful contribution to the lebanon war for which he was justly censured by the israeli supreme court - but he is increasingly looking as if he has his eye on being israel's abraham lincoln, if that's the simile i'm looking for. i wouldn't say i was quite a believer yet, but i have to say that if there's one person i think could really give the extreme-right a hiding, it's him - the left are far too weak and the rest of his party still too in love with the romance of the settlements.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
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