With regard to the Israel-Arab conflict, the EU is now irrelevant

Putting the cards on the table.

David Singer

OpEds David Singer
David Singer

The Council of the European Union (EU) has disqualified itself from influencing any resolution of the 100 years old Jewish-Arab conflict following the release of its "Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process" in January 2016.

Continuing its partisan support of Arab demands the EU has reaffirmed its July 2014 position:

"The EU recalls its willingness to engage further with regional partners on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative which provides key elements for the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as the opportunity for building a regional security framework."

Key elements of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative included:

1. "Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights to the lines of June 4, 1967 as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon."

2. "The acceptance of the establishment of a Sovereign Independent Palestinian State on the Palestinian territories occupied since the 4th of June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza strip, with east Jerusalem as its capital"

Israel's agreement to negotiate with the PLO on the basis of the 2003 Bush Roadmap was contingent on the removal of all references to the Arab Peace Initiative from the Roadmap along with 13 other detailed reservations.

American Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice gave the following assurances to Israel on 23 May 2003:

The Arab Peace Initiative has been effectively consigned to the dustbin of history.
“The roadmap was presented to the Government of Israel with a request from the President that it respond with contributions to this document to advance true peace. The United States Government received a response from the Government of Israel, explaining its significant concerns about the roadmap. The United States shares the view of the Government of Israel that these are real concerns and will address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the roadmap to fulfil the President’s vision of June 24, 2002.”

This fundamental disconnect between the EU and Israel over the Arab Peace Initiative continues to detrimentally impact on their relationship.

Full Israeli withdrawal from these territories - or even equivalent land swaps as suggested by the EU in its July 2014 manifesto - is a pipe dream - given that the creation of Islamic State since then has seen it:

1. conquer an area of Syria and Iraq larger than Great Britain - resulting in millions of Arabs being brutally slain, injured, traumatized and physically displaced into Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and, lest we forget, the EU.

2. become a distinct security threat to Israel and its Arab neighbours

The Arab Peace Initiative has been effectively consigned to the dustbin of history as a result.

Stubbornly continuing to support these key elements of the Arab Peace Initiative has led a clearly frustrated EU to take action to unilaterally end Israel's total lawful control of Area "C" in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) by instigating the following intemperate actions:

1. Requiring Israel to specifically identify goods, products and services originating from Jewish settlements in Judea,Samaria,the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem 

2. Funding and actively supporting illegal Arab housing construction in Area "C"

Israel reportedly considers that such actions by the EU give the Palestinian Arabs false hope that if they just hold out long enough - the EU will somehow be able to “deliver” Israel.

EU policy and its conduct since July 2014 has exacerbated the Jewish-Arab conflict rather than playing a constructive role in its resolution.

In reaffirming that policy in 2016 - despite total chaos occurring among Arab States in the region - the EU has clearly become irrelevant and can no longer have any meaningful role in resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict.