“Europe Takes Stronger Measures, Albeit Symbolic, to Condemn Israeli Policies”
The New York Times, November 23, 2014, p.A6
“European nations, Israel’s largest trading partners and a historical bastion of support, are taking stronger measures to support Palestinian sovereignty and condemn what many see as aggressive, expansionist Israeli policies. After years of mounting frustrations widely expressed but rarely acted on, politicians from Britain, France, Spain and Sweden have embraced symbolic steps to pressure Israel into a more accommodating stance toward the Palestinians. Last week, European Union foreign ministers issued a statement that condemned the growing violence in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, Israeli expropriation of land near Bethlehem in the West Bank, and plans for new settlement construction, and urged Israel to change its policy on Gaza. … Statements and nonbinding votes in support of a Palestinian state do not seem likely to have an immediate, tangible impact on Israel’s core political or economic interests. Israel continues to enjoy good diplomatic relations with the major European powers. Yet the actions reflect surging antipathy in Europe’s public discourse that threatens to drown out residual support for the Jewish state. Many leaders do not rule out sanctions on Israeli interests, especially in territories beyond the country’s 1967 boundaries, if they see no progress toward a two-state solution. The tone sharpened in response to the war in Gaza this summer and to continuing Israeli settlement expansion, which European leaders call illegal. European diplomats have been discussing what actions the European Union might take — in addition to recognizing a Palestinian state, symbolically or otherwise — to promote a two-state solution in the absence of negotiations toward that end. Perhaps most of all, said Vincent Fean, Britain’s consul general in Jerusalem from 2010 until this year, Europe is deeply troubled by ‘the one-state outcome, where Israel is heading fast.'”
Quickie Analysis: Europe seems to be the only power truly willing to go to bat for the two-state solution by creating accountability.