Once again, Israel is exerting a great deal of effort in order to prevent discussion of an EU paper among European institutions. The internal report, which was drafted in December 2015 and then endorsed by all EU member states, attributes the development of the Jerusalem Intifada (Uprising) to “Israel’s occupation”. It included reference to the living conditions of Palestinian citizens and the failure to implement the two-state paradigm.
The EU Observer, which has seen the 39-page report, has stated that the document is intended as a reference for EU foreign ministers and “for proposals put forward by the EU Foreign Service.”
While having a dearth of facts, the report is not lacking in the kind of contradictions that mark the constant cycle of condemnation and appeasement of Israel at the expense of withholding Palestinian narratives. The Jerusalem Post has deemed the EU document to be veering away from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that Israel and the rest of the world are facing the same terror threats. Rhetorically, the EU has distanced itself from Netanyahu’s sweeping statements that generalise every terrorist incident in order to normalise state violence against Palestinian resistance. Nevertheless, as on other occasions, the EU has devised its own strategies which uphold Israel’s narrative at a regional and international level.
The report is ambiguous in the extreme. “Some Palestinian perpetrators of individual attacks, “it explains, “have apparently been shot and killed in situations where they no longer pose a threat.” Despite Netanyahu himself publicly endorsing such extrajudicial killings, the EU has preferred to subjugate the facts to hypotheses through the use of terminology like “apparently”, “appeared” and “possibly amounting in certain cases to unlawful killings.” By not condemning such unlawful killing explicitly, the discourse suggests the EU’s tacit approval of Israeli state and settler violence. This is illustrated further in the report’s standard equivalence clause that “both sides” have indulged in “inflammatory rhetoric”, thus negating the fact that Palestinian resistance is a legitimate response to illegal Israeli colonial violence.
EU Foreign Relations chief Federica Mogherini has opposed the proposal that “known violent settlers and those calling for acts of violence” should be placed under EU visa bans. According to Mogherini: “There’s currently no question of sanctioning anybody. The question is rather how to motivate people to… restart peace talks.” Such leniency works in concordance with Israeli policy towards settler terrorists who are mostly shielded by the colonial state, enabling them to act with impunity.
Perhaps the most incriminating evidence of support for Israeli colonisation is the recommendation that the EU develops “further guidelines that differentiate between Israel and its illegal settlements,” according to the EU Observer. This distinction has been of interminable benefit to Israel and its implications are many, including the refusal to recognise the fact that Israel is a colonial entity and that its manifestation is contrary to the principles enshrined in international law. Referring to Israel as the “occupying power” without any reference to colonisation in effect absolves both Israel and the international community of accountability when it comes to recognising the Palestinian right to resistance and liberation. Unless this anomaly is rectified, all reports issued by the EU will be inherently biased towards Israel, regardless of the content. To treat colonial expansion as a recent phenomenon is a transgression of truth and an impediment to Palestinian struggle, although that is, after all, the apparent international intent behind such blatant deception.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.