Israel to collide with EU
- Israeli report also warns of country becoming a 'pariah state' like
apartheid-era South Africa.
Report: Israel set to collide with EU
by Tom Regan | csmonitor.com
October 15, 2004, updated 10:30 a.m.
Israel could one day become a "pariah state" like apartheid-era South
Africa. It also looks set to collide with a European Union that is
growing in power and influence.
These are some of the possible outcomes if the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict is not resolved, reports a confidential, but leaked to the
media, 25-page ten-year forecast written by the Israeli Foreign
Ministry's Center for Public Research.
The report, which contains no recommendations and was written in
August of 2004, says it's important to improve relations with Europe
since a European Union growing in power and influence would mean that
Israel's main political partner, the United States, would probably
diminish in international stature.
'It is a prognosis of the general outline of the international
environment in the future... it is us looking into the crystal ball,'
the report's author said. 'Everyone is aware of the importance of the
relations with Europe.'
Reuters reported Thursday that Israel's relationship with the EU has
been strained for a long time over what Israel sees as EU favoritism
toward the Palestinians, and anti-Semitism in Europe. That
relationship has grown worse, the Associated Press reported Thursday,
as the EU has strongly criticized Israeli military action against the
Palestinians and the construction of what Israel calls a security
barrier in the West Bank.
"Regarding the Middle East peace process and our relations with
Israel and the Palestinians, there is no doubt that the role of the
EU has increased," said Christina Gallach, a spokeswoman for EU
foreign policy chief Javier Solana. The EU says Israel's planned
withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 must be followed by major
troop withdrawals in the West Bank, and pave the way for Palestinian
statehood. "None of this is exactly what the Israelis want to hear,
but we have to say it," Ms. Gallach said.
In an interview with Radio Netherlands about the report, Zalman
Shoval, a former Israeli ambassador to the US and a foreign policy
advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said he is not sure
if Mr. Sharon shares the Foreign Ministry's concerns about Israel's
future, but that most Israelis are "concerned" about developments in
Some concerns which we have [are] that it is convenient and the
Jewish people know something about that from its history to make us
responsible for things which really have nothing to do with us at
all. [I didn't realize Sharon was a comedian! -WVNS] We will have to
fight with that, but I must say quite frankly that we have good
reason to rely much more on the leader of the free world, America,
than on some of these political machinations in Europe.
Sharon threatened to freeze the EU out of the Middle East peacemaking
process in July when the EU backed a UN General Assembly resolution
demanding that Israel heed a World Court ruling calling on it to tear
down its West Bank barrier.
Columnist Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post wonders if Sharon's
Gaza disengagement plan, which lacks the support of many in his own
party but does have the support of the broader Israeli public, is not
an attempt to buy "an insurance policy" with the EU, a position Ms.
Glick says was supported by an interview key Sharon's advisor, Dov
Weinsglass, recently gave with the Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz.
According to Weisglass, the downward trend in Europe's view of Israel
will be halted by Sharon's withdrawal plan from the Gaza Strip and
northern Samaria. By Weisglass's telling, the need to mollify and
moderate Europe's view of Israel is one of the main reasons that
Sharon chose the radical approach of withdrawal without an agreement
and in the midst of war. In his words, the purpose of the withdrawal
plan is to enable the US 'to go to the seething and simmering
international community and say to them, "What do you want [from
Meanwhile, Sharon announced he was scaling back the Israeli military
offensive in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli Army warned that
staying longer than it already has in "crowded Palestinian areas" was
too risky. Al Jazeera reports Friday that the situation in the Gaza
Strip has created a dilemma for Sharon: continued Palestinian rocket
attacks from the area into Israel undermines his plan for a
withdrawal from Gaza, but the heavy Palestinian civilian casualties
incurred during the 17-day offensive have drawn widespread
The Israeli action comes as an 18-page United Nation report accuses
Israel of severe human rights violations, including "massive and
wanton destruction" of property in Gaza. The report, compiled by UN
representative for human rights John Dugard, said that while some of
Israel's actions could be explained by security concerns, most could
not. The report will be presented to the UN General Assembly later
this month, and was prepared before the latest Israeli actions in
The Israeli government criticized the report saying it "has nothing
to contribute to any serious discussion about finding the right
balance between security and human rights."
Finally, Ha'aretz reports that Israel is the only country in a survey
of ten nations that would like to see US President George Bush re-
elected. It was also the only country in the survey where the
favorable opinion of the US improved in recent months, rather than
deteriorated, and the only country where the war in Iraq was not
considered a mistake. The joint poll was taken by 10 newspapers
worldwide; other countries surveyed included coalition allies Britain
and Australia, as well as Canada, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Korea, Spain
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