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Israeli security interests dominate EU diplomacy

EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini
EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini

The EU Foreign Policy Chief has told Benjamin Netanyahu that there will be no mass relocation of embassies to Jerusalem. Federica Mogherini insisted that this will be the case in response to the Israeli Prime Minister’s comment that most European countries would follow Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv.

However, there was no recognition from the EU regarding the shift in political dynamics, particularly with regard to the negotiations and the two-state paradigm. On the contrary, Mogherini exposed the EU’s intent to persist in diplomatic engagement within the obsolete framework, for the sake of Israel’s security interest.

As quoted in the Times of Israel, Mogherini stated: “We believe it is in Israel’s interest, especially its security interest, to find a sustainable and comprehensible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is why the European Union will increase its work… to relaunch the peace process, even if it seems [that these are] difficult times.”

In keeping with its usual stances, Wafa news agency also reported that the EU is seeking compensation of €30,000 from Israel for the confiscation and destruction of structures funded by Brussels. The news would have been a diversion, even at a less drastic moment, given that the EU is apparently willing to go on paying for Israel’s penchant for demolition. However, in the current circumstances, the EU’s demand is more of an assertion that the cycle of abuse and plunder is set to continue as usual, with demands unmet by Israel and the further depletion of Palestinian rights.

Read: Netanyahu challenges the EU over Jerusalem

Despite refuting Netanyahu’s statement, which speaks about a hypothetical future and within the context of a majority of countries prioritising relations with Israel above ending its colonisation of Palestine, Mogherini’s reasons do not frame the response as any kind of solidarity with the Palestinians. The EU has embarked upon the most convenient narrative and the easiest one to articulate. If it can promote the two-state compromise as the best option to protect Israeli interests, the essence behind such reasoning does not oppose Trump’s action. In different ways, the US and the EU have promoted a distorted concept of peace which complements each other’s and, particularly, Netanyahu’s aims of using the euphemism as a veneer for Israel’s ongoing violence.

The EU might be less willing to overtly affirm agreement. Its reticence, however, should not be misconstrued as support. Eliminating the possibility of considering — let along affirming — decolonisation as the necessary process for peace, turns every decision taken by the EU into an advantage for Israel. There is no need for other diplomatic belligerence to affirm support for the Zionist state’s colonial project; the reiteration of Israeli security interests dissociated from the circumstances created by the colonial entity itself is enough.

Read: Netanyahu fails to sell Trump Jerusalem recognition in Europe

A current rejection of Netanyahu’s hypothesis is a weak response to the threat unleashed by Trump. If the EU is to take a stance of unequivocal rejection, it has to match its rhetoric with a complete change of policy which would construct peace according to Palestinian demands based upon international law. Relaunching the peace process as the means to protect Israeli security interests makes a mockery of the losses suffered by Palestinians since the initial colonial process started more than 100 years ago and conveys flagrant contempt for the legitimate rights of the indigenous population of occupied Palestine.

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