by Eldad Beck
By coddling the Palestinians and contemplating signing a "partnership agreement" with Ramallah, the EU has established itself as the greatest obstacle to Middle East peace.
While U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits the Middle East in an effort to promote a new American peace initiative between the Arab states and Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is on his way to a meeting with European foreign ministers in Brussels. Although Abbas' arrival to the capital of the European Union was scheduled before the dates of Pence's visit were announced, there is great symbolism in his finding "refuge" from the American administration in the lap of the European Union.
Instead of making bold moves and dealing with reality, Abbas has adopted the policy of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, a man to known to have avoided making decisions by flying off to destinations that supported his unyielding positions. By doing so, Abbas is escaping to his comfort zone and working to ensure the continuation of the conflict with Israel under the auspices and encouragement of the EU.
The EU's silence in light of the unprecedently aggressive rhetoric Abbas directed at Trump earlier this month serves as conclusive proof that the EU is uninterested in finding a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. This was not the first time that Abbas – a certified Holocaust denier – has used sick conspiracy theories to distort Jewish history and Zionism. This man, who during his tenure acted to increase anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement among his people, cannot be a partner to any type of peace process.
Europe, with its own historical experience, should have understood that, and responded to Abbas' crazy speech by canceling its ministers' meetings with him. But just as the EU has found it difficult to stop the flow of funds to the PA and demand the Palestinians finally do their part to aid in the peace process, so too has Abbas not been punished for his comments but rather met with a warm embrace.
The U.S. decides to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? The EU responds by loudly voicing its opposition, and in Luxembourg, offering European recognition of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders. The U.S. cuts its funding of UNRWA? Belgium responds by sending in a donation.
Abbas knows full well that he does not need to do a thing to advance the peace process because Europe will always have his back. At a time when the EU is knee-deep in its own internal issues, being anti-Israel has become the ultimate glue holding European identity together. Instead of using the many tools at its disposal to force the Palestinians to reach some type of settlement, the EU coddles the Palestinians with perks and is now contemplating signing a "partnership agreement" with the Palestinians, in response to the so-called "pro-Israel policies of the Trump administration." In so doing, the EU has established itself as the greatest obstacle to peace in the Middle East.
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