Two days ago European Parliament (EP) debated “the situation in Judea and Samaria, in particular settlements“. The wisdom of the EP doing so was questioned by some of the MEPs.
The debate was opened on behalf of the EU’s Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who was unable to attend. The main point of contention was “the new Israeli settlement announcements and the adoption of the regularisation law by the Knesset. With this new law, the Israeli Parliament has legislated on the legal status of land within the occupied Palestinian Territory, which is an issue that remains beyond its jurisdiction.”
Savour the irony of Mogherini calling out someone else on acting on issues “beyond their jurisdiction.” But it gets better. Because as MEP Lars Adaktusson says: “it is very likely that the bill will be deemed unconstitutional by the Israeli Supreme Court,” and at any rate, it hasn’t been implemented yet. In other words, even if Israeli policy is something to be discussed by the EP, it is too early to do so now. If the Israeli Supreme Court decides unfavourably, the only thing this debate, lasting the better part of 90 minutes, has achieved, is MEP Papadakis calling Israel “a terrorist state.”
Despite the name-calling, a few fair points were made. MEP Cristian Dan Preda (PPE), when answering an interruption said:
“I think we must dispel the illusion that if we are 100% pro-Palestinian, we will solve something. Our position is perceived to be biased throughout this region, and that is why our role is minor. As I have just mentioned with great regret, we do not feel the weight of Europe in this region, either in Jerusalem, Ramallah or Amman. It is a reality that we, the delegation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, have observed. We regret it, we must be more subtle, I believe, and abandon the illusion that if one is 100%, sometimes 200% pro-Palestinian, we solve something.”
MEP Bas Belder made the point that it was hypocritical of the EU to criticise illegal building, when it was engaged in it itself: “because the EU has long been financing building and infrastructural projects in parts of the Westbank that are under Israeli administration, without consulting Jerusalem on this. By doing this, Brussels not only goes against current law, but the EU is also endangering the safety of the Jewish state.”
“Furthermore I want to stress a cardinal error in the Middle-East policy of the EU. The border between Israel and a future Palestinian state is a necessary part of the process of negotiations between both parties. That border, therefore, cannot be the object of an EU-statement magically transforming the temporary armistice line of 1948-49 in a binding political border. In short, instead of helping along a political agreement between Israeli and Palestinians, the EU shares responsibility for the protracted impasse that is cynically called a peace process.”
Watch the entire debate on the EP’s dedicated website.