Cosy With “Israel”, Despite the Headlines
By David Cronin
BRUSSELS, Dec 18 (IPS) – Israel’s relations with the European Union were tense for most of 2009 – if newspaper headlines are to be believed. In the past week, a British court drew fierce criticism from Israeli politicians after it issued an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister, following a complaint that she had authorised war crimes in Gaza.
A few months earlier, Ikea, Volvo and other firms from Sweden, the current holder of the EU’s presidency, found themselves the target of a consumer boycott campaign in Israel because of an article in a Stockholm tabloid on the alleged theft of organs from Palestinians killed by Israeli troops. And several of the Union’s foreign ministers, such as France’s Bernard Kouchner and Ireland’s Micheál Martin, have been denied permission to enter Gaza by the Israeli authorities.
In reality, however, the tension has been superficial. While there may have been the occasional angry word exchanged on the diplomatic front, the EU’s political and economic ties with Israel have been strengthened over the past few years to such an extent that Javier Solana, who stepped down as the Union’s foreign policy chief in late November, has remarked that Israel is an EU member state in all but name.
Perhaps the most tangible illustration of this enhanced relationship was the sealing of an accord on agriculture last month, under which 80 percent of Israel’s fresh produce and 95 percent of its processed foods can be exported to the EU without incurring any trade taxes. A cooperation accord between Europol, the EU’s police office, and Israel has also been finalised (though still awaits a formal rubber-stamp from the Union’s governments). This is despite numerous reports from human rights organisations that detainees in Israel are routinely tortured and despite rules in force since 1998 that oblige Europol not to process evidence obtained by cruel methods.
Israel’s effective integration into the EU has coincided with a marked reluctance on the part of the Union to denounce acts of aggression against the Palestinians. Although some individual EU representatives have described the blockade of Gaza as an act of “collective punishment” against 1.5 million civilians, no statement criticising the blockade as contrary to international humanitarian law has been issued by the 27-member bloc in its entirety.
Furthermore, all of the EU’s most populous countries – Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Spain and Poland – either opposed the Goldstone report or abstained when it was considered by the UN’s General Assembly in November. (In that report, the retired South African judge Richard Goldstone and his fellow investigators found there was no justifiable military objective behind almost every attack on Gaza’s civilians undertaken by Israel in late 2008 and the beginning of this year).
Leila Shahid, the Palestinian Authority’s envoy to Brussels, says that the EU’s largest countries are “accomplices by their silence” in Israel’s misdeeds. “The raison d’être of the bigger states – including France and Spain and Great Britain – is to be guarantors of international law,” she told IPS. “To be silent is to be part of the crime.”
Dries Van Agt, prime minister of the Netherlands from 1977 to 1982, said this week that he was “ashamed” of what he called Europe’s “shocking disservice to international law.” Under an “association agreement” which came into effect in 2000, all trade preferences granted to Israel by the EU are nominally conditional on respect for human rights. Yet Van Agt expressed frustration that the Union, Israel’s main trading partner, is unwilling to revoke those preferences to insist on an improvement in the treatment of the Palestinians.
“Europe is failing miserably in its Israel-Palestine policy,” he said. “It is so vitally important to the economy of Israel that it has access to this big open market. Why does the EU not even consider bringing this power to bear on Israel?” Van Agt was speaking at a meeting of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine Thursday. Inspired by a probe into the Vietnam war launched by the British intellectual Bertrand Russell in the 1960s, this tribunal is exploring the conduct of Israel’s most recent offensive against Gaza.
Maysa Zorob from the Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq said that the EU’s “business as usual approach amounts to disregarding Israel’s policies in the Gaza Strip.” She noted that the Union has not even brought Israel to book for the damage inflicted on Palestinian infrastructure built or maintained with EU aid. Damage to EU-financed projects during Israeli bombing of Gaza about a year ago has been calculated at more than 12 million euros (17 million dollars).
One explanation put forward by EU diplomats for their refusal to hold Israel to account is that doing so could put efforts to initiate new peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in jeopardy. Nathalie Stanus from the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network said that this attitude is shortsighted as basic tenets of justice must be respected if a durable peace can be achieved. “Without accountability, we don’t believe there will be a viable peace process,” she said.
1 Comment »
or go to
From the Archives
By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | September 11, 2014
The New York Times has one of its typically racist articles making fun of Iranians for their “conspiracy theories” — this time about who created ISIS.
The irony is that this is the same NY Times that helped promote the US lie about “WMDs in Iraq”
Meanwhile I am reminded of NeoCon Michael Ledeen’s rant about how “creative destruction” is our middle name.
Things are getting pretty “creative”, huh Michael? “Faster please” indeed.
The Iranians and the Iraqis and most of the rest of the world think that the Saudis (as US allies) created ISIS and for good reason. … continue
Aletho News Exclusive Content
This article will examine some of the connections between the US and UK National Security apparatus and the appearance of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory beginning after the accident at Three Mile Island. … continue
Also by Aletho News:
September 19, 2011
March 8, 2011
January 2, 2011
October 10, 2010
July 5, 2010
February 25, 2010
February 7, 2010
January 5, 2010
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 4, 2009
May 9, 2009
- Democratic Party Primaries: Progressives as Political Contraceptives November 22, 2015
TagsAfghanistan Africa al-Akhbar Al-Manar al-Qaeda American Civil Liberties Union Argentina Bashar al-Assad Benjamin Netanyahu Brazil Canada Central Intelligence Agency China CIA Colombia Egypt EU European Union FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation France Gaza Germany Hamas Hebron Hezbollah Honduras Hugo Chávez Human rights India International Atomic Energy Agency International Solidarity Movement Internet Iran Iraq Iraq War ISIS Israel Israeli settlement Japan Jerusalem John Kerry Latin America Lebanon Libya Mexico Middle East Military National Security Agency NATO New York Times NSA Obama Pakistan Palestine Palestinian prisoners in Israel Police Press TV Qatar Russia Sanctions against Iran Saudi Arabia Syria Turkey UK Ukraine United Nations United States USA Venezuela War Washington Post West Bank Yemen Zionism
Brian Harry, Austral… on Israel was prime force behind… Brian Harry, Austral… on Mass Demonstration Demands Clo… Brian Harry, Austral… on Russian Su-24 fighter jet shot… aletho on Russian Su-24 fighter jet shot… Greg Bacon on Russian Su-24 fighter jet shot… Michael\\ on ‘Turkey good example of… roberthstiver on Russian Su-24 fighter jet shot… Brian Harry, Austral… on Russian Su-24 fighter jet shot… roberthstiver on Delivery of S-300 air defence… Brian Harry, Austral… on Is The Diary of Anne Frank… traducteur on Is The Diary of Anne Frank… Brian Harry, Austral… on Is The Diary of Anne Frank… Brian Harry, Austral… on Time to Defund the Internation… nicholas giannelos on Who Should Pay For the Syrian… roberthstiver on Night raids continue in al-Kha…
Visits Since December 2009
- 2,399,729 hits
Contact:atheonews (at) gmail.com
- Mastermind of The Bamako Terror Attack Mokhtar Belmokhtar: A CIA Sponsored “Intelligence Asset”? November 24, 2015
- Cooking the Books for Israel: How The NY Times Plays a Numbers Game November 24, 2015
- Cameron must investigate ISIS terror funding by Gulf allies – Lord Ashdown November 24, 2015
- Russia deploys missile cruiser off Syria coast, ordered to destroy any target posing danger November 24, 2015
- One Dead as Russian Mi-8 Helicopter Attacked During Rescue Mission in Syria November 24, 2015
- PARIS & the City of ‘ISIS’: Major Occult Symbolism, Hypnosis & the Massive Psy-Op Now Underway… November 24, 2015
- Mass Demonstration Demands Closure of US’ Notorious ‘School of Assassins’ November 24, 2015
- ‘Turkey good example of West’s duplicity towards ISIS’ November 24, 2015
- Israel was prime force behind 9/11 attacks: American scholar November 24, 2015
- Tracking ISIS to DC’s Doorsteps November 24, 2015
- Kerry calls for faster, bigger US intervention in Syria November 24, 2015
- NASA looking for alternatives to Russia’s Soyuz November 24, 2015
- Russian Su-24 fighter jet shot down over Syria – Russian MoD November 24, 2015
- Guam, Marianas brace for massive US military redeployment November 24, 2015
- Democratic Party Primaries: “Progressives” as Political Contraceptives November 23, 2015
- Delivery of S-300 air defence systems to Tehran begins – ambassador November 23, 2015
- Israeli Woman Stabbed in Retaliation for Killing of Palestinian Girl November 23, 2015
- Guardian admits its cowardice over Paris November 23, 2015
Looking for something?
Categories"Hope and Change" Aletho News Civil Liberties Corruption Deception Economics Environmentalism Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism False Flag Terrorism Full Spectrum Dominance Illegal Occupation Islamophobia Mainstream Media, Warmongering Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity Militarism Nuclear Power Science and Pseudo-Science Solidarity and Activism Subjugation - Torture Supremacism, Social Darwinism Timeless or most popular Video War Crimes Wars for Israel
This site is provided as a research and reference tool. Although we make every reasonable effort to ensure that the information and data provided at this site are useful, accurate, and current, we cannot guarantee that the information and data provided here will be error-free. By using this site, you assume all responsibility for and risk arising from your use of and reliance upon the contents of this site.
This site and the information available through it do not, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Should you require legal advice, you should consult your own attorney.
Nothing within this site or linked to by this site constitutes investment advice or medical advice.
Materials accessible from or added to this site by third parties, such as comments posted, are strictly the responsibility of the third party who added such materials or made them accessible and we neither endorse nor undertake to control, monitor, edit or assume responsibility for any such third-party material.
The posting of stories, commentaries, reports, documents and links (embedded or otherwise) on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such posted material or parts therein.
The word "alleged" is deemed to occur before the word "fraud." Since the rule of law still applies. To peasants, at least.
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
This is information for anyone that wishes to challenge our “fair use” of copyrighted material.
If you are a legal copyright holder or a designated agent for such and you believe that content residing on or accessible through our website infringes a copyright and falls outside the boundaries of “Fair Use”, please send a notice of infringement by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will respond and take necessary action immediately.
If notice is given of an alleged copyright violation we will act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material(s) in question.
All 3rd party material posted on this website is copyright the respective owners / authors. Aletho News makes no claim of copyright on such material.