The EU’s destructive “peace” partner

A view of the “peace process” from the ground in the occupied West Bank.

Anne Paq ActiveStills

While the defenseless population of Gaza was being pummeled by the Israeli military on Saturday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief condemned the firing of rockets from the territory in a nakedly one-sided statement.

“These attacks provoke unspeakable suffering to the Israelis and serve only the cause of endless violence and of an endless conflict,” Federica Mogherini admonished, making no mention of the Palestinian victims of massive Israeli bombing.

“Together with the international community, we will keep working to bring relief to all those suffering from this conflict and cooperating with those who serve the cause of peace,” she added.

Days earlier, Mogherini entertained a proposal from COGAT, the bureaucratic arm of Israel’s military occupation, that international donors give hundreds of millions of dollars for a sewage treatment plant in Gaza.

The plant is critically needed in Gaza, the type of civilian infrastructure that Israel as the occupying power is obliged by international humanitarian law to provide.

Cynical scheme

But Israel knows that it can destroy Palestinian infrastructure in Gaza, and third states will pay for its reconstruction, with no cost to Israel.

Israel in fact benefits economically from reconstruction in Gaza, as it controls the import of all raw materials to the Strip, privileging Israeli vendors such as cement companies and trucking and storage firms that profit from the inevitable delays to the delivery of goods.

It’s a cynical scheme resulting from a myopic and dogmatic commitment to a so-called peace process that has completely lost touch with the reality on the ground.

In the West Bank, Israel’s euphemistically named Civil Administration, a unit of COGAT, implements a policy that incrementally dispossesses Palestinians from their land.

That scheme, implemented in the “seam zone” between Israel’s wall and the Israel-West Bank boundary, sees the coercive division of land collectively maintained by Palestinian communities into smaller parcels owned by individuals.

If the parcel of land is smaller than 330 square meters, as the journalist Amira Hass points out, it is declared by the Civil Administration to have “no agricultural necessity” and so access permits are not issued to its Palestinian owners.

“Unfortunately until now, I haven’t yet been able to fully convey to my readers or editors the enormous scope of the danger and depth of the deceptiveness embodied in these regulations,” Hass states.

And yet the body tasked with carrying out this incremental de facto annexation of Palestinian land is treated as a partner for peace by the European Union.

“Our economic assistance to the Palestinians cannot be separated from this political objective of the two-state solution,” Mogherini stated at the annual gathering of international donors to the Palestinians that convened in Brussels last week.

“I want to be clear about this: a political two-state solution cannot be substituted by endless technical and financial assistance and capacity building. It would simply not work,” she added.

Reality

Yet that is exactly what the Oslo paradigm – which treats Palestinian rights as negotiable, thus ensuring Israeli impunity for violations of international law – has delivered.

With more than half a million Israeli settlers illegally transferred to the West Bank in the 25 years since the Oslo accords were signed, even those most tied to the peace process paradigm have to occasionally acknowledge reality.

Mogherini admitted that “the very possibility of two states is being dismantled.”

And those doing the dismantling are still invited to the table in Brussels, and the so-called international community keeps footing the bill.

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In the past, the Nazi regime's smash and grab and extermination was considered reprehensible. But now, the EU and Federica Mogherini calls it "peace process" and Emanuele Giaufret, the EU’s envoy to Tel Aviv, says while the EU may have differences of opinion, “we cannot allow them to overshadow our entire relations,” (https://electronicintifada.net...).

Sure, we may have differences of opinion but we can't allow them overshadow our entire relations. Let us not squabble about an alleged "genocide" every now and again. EU trade comes first! How very Chamberlain and Balfour.

The EU is dead. When the soul has departed, all you have is a corpse.

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Mogherini says she “wants to be clear”. Well what is clear is that in saying “Our economic assistance to the Palestinians cannot be separated from this political objective of the two-state solution” and “a political two-state solution cannot be substituted by endless technical and financial assistance and capacity building. It would simply not work”. Then by admitting what’s been obvious for at least a decade that “the very possibility of two states is being dismantled”, Mogherini is admitting that the EU policy of endless assistance, is failing. Which leaves the EU a choice; either drop the pretense that it’s working for a just resolution in Palestine or invest to shift the paradigm.
It seems to me that an effective way of divesting from the failed peace process and encouraging a path to justice and diverting Euros to where they can do some good, would be to begin transferring produce contracts to developing nations with a capacity to become reliable supply lines, perhaps encouraging favorable IMF loans for agricultural development.
It might be a great political sell as well, especially considering popular opinion in Europe. China's building its future on a similar strategy, shouldn't the EU be more concerned with that than dumping cash on a pig in a poke?
Or perhaps something like this is already being encouraged?

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Thank you for the picture of the wall, which was on your lead article today. I've never been to Palestine, and a lot of your articles reference the wall, but I really had trouble visualizing it. This picture, of the wall looming over a person was so helpful! Now, when I hear or read about the wall, I can immediately think of the people dwarfed by a huge wall.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.