Why is EU feeding croissants to war criminal Netanyahu?

Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, will play host to Benjamin Netanyahu next week. (European External Action Service/Flickr)

There are at least 3,000 reasons why Benjamin Netanyahu should not be welcomed to Brussels next week.

Three thousand is the approximate number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since Netanyahu became prime minister in March 2009.

Netanyahu has ordered two major offensives against Gaza. War crimes were perpetrated during both.

He and his government colleagues have approved the expansion of settlement activities in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. They have introduced a series of laws to worsen the discrimination and repression faced by Palestinians.

Netanyahu has forced electricity shortages on the people of Gaza. He is responsible for how patients have died because they have been denied adequate medical care and for how children have been tortured in Israeli custody.

Netanyahu is an overt racist. He has described African refugees as “infiltrators” and Arabs as “wild beasts.”

Accommodating

Why has Netanyahu been invited to an “informal breakfast,” hosted by Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief?

Why is the EU feeding croissants to a war criminal?

Let nobody be deceived by how terms like “informal” are being used to try and downplay the significance of how the Union is embracing Netanyahu.

The EU has strengthened its trading relationship with Israel since Netanyahu became prime minister.

Two important agreements on making it easier for Israeli exporters to access European Union markets have entered into force during that time.

The EU has proven to be hugely accommodating to Netanyahu.

A few years ago, Netanyahu complained about efforts to exclude some Israeli firms and institutions working in the occupied West Bank from the EU’s scientific research program.

If EU representatives took their declared commitment to human rights and international law seriously, they would have resisted pressure from Netanyahu’s government. They would have refused to step up their cooperation with a state that is gobbling up Palestinian land.

Instead, the EU caved into Netanyahu’s bullying. A deal was thrashed out enabling Israel to fully participate in Horizon 2020, as the Union’s latest science program is called.

The deal was deeply problematic. Israel’s science ministry is one of the main bodies coordinating that state’s involvement in Horizon 2020.

The science ministry is not based inside present-day Israel. Rather, its main offices are in occupied East Jerusalem.

Superficial

The Horizon 2020 deal shows how the concern expressed by Federica Mogherini this week about Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was quite superficial.

Speaking to CNN, Mogherini said that Trump’s move had “discredited a bit the United States as an honest broker.”

A belligerent buffoon like Trump would never have credibility as an honest broker.

In some respects, though, Trump has actually been more honest than Mogherini.

Trump is giving Israel carte blanche to continue its ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.

By cooperating with Israel’s ministries in East Jerusalem, the EU representatives have done the same thing – albeit less brazenly.

To mark Human Rights Day earlier this week, the Union’s envoy to Tel Aviv, Emanuele Giaufret, visited Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Hebrew University has a campus in occupied East Jerusalem. Some of its buildings are located on land confiscated from the neighboring Palestinian town, Issawiyeh.

Hebrew University is a top recipient of EU science grants. As a result, the Union is providing direct support to an institution complicit in the colonization of Jerusalem.

That fact underscores just how hollow Mogherini was this week when she tried to sound exercised about Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem.

Mantra

Mogherini has failed to hold Israel accountable for the damage it has inflicted on EU-funded projects.

Last year, she stated that the EU’s governments were discussing “possible restitution or compensation” from Israel for destroying aid projects they had financed.

Eight of the Union’s 28 countries have subsequently protested at Israel’s confiscation of solar panels they had paid for.

By failing to row in behind that action, the other 20 EU countries and Mogherini, as foreign policy chief, are effectively letting Israel off the hook.

Mogherini repeats like a mantra that the EU is striving towards a two-state solution and wishes to relaunch the peace process.

To be charitable, perhaps she believes that a two-state solution is possible or desirable. Yet Netanyahu has, to all intents and purposes, ruled out such a solution by insisting that Israel will never evacuate any of its settlements in the West Bank.

Having breakfast with Netanyahu will not change the behavior of his government. On the contrary, Netanyahu will be able to leave Brussels knowing that he can keep abusing Palestinian rights with impunity.

He is being rewarded for his crimes with croissants.

Tags

Comments

picture

I am ashamed for Federica Mogherini! How can one agree to meet a criminal, and worse to negotiate with him? It is an open door to interference in European affairs, with which BN has nothing to do as a Zionist in Asia / Middle East.

David Cronin

David Cronin's picture

David Cronin is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada. His latest book is Balfour’s Shadow: A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel (Pluto, 2017).