Middle East Monitor / June 10, 2021
A single, perceived omission, according to Israel’s colonial agenda, was enough to turn down requests for the EU’s Middle East Peace Envoy Sven Koopmans to visit Israel. This was, apparently, payback for EU High Representative Josep Borrell’s alleged lack of support for the latest colonial aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza.
Koopmans’ request to Israel, two weeks ago, was rejected by the colonial state’s foreign ministry, which requested a postponement. The EU envoy visited anyway, upon a mandate from all 27 EU member states to do so, but was rebuffed by Israeli officials.
It is unclear what support Israel expected from the EU over and above what it always gets, as the bloc certainly delivered on the settler-colonial security narrative. “We support the right to defence for Israel and right to security – also for the Palestinians – and we consider that security for Israel and Palestine requires a true political solution, because only a true political solution could bring peace, and to do that we need to restore a political horizon,” said Borrell during the offensive.
The Palestinians are a perfunctory afterthought in EU diplomacy, and Israel knows as much. Besides, the perpetual two-state rhetoric facilitated Israel’s de-facto annexation of the remaining Palestinian territory. So there was no betrayal of Israeli interests by Borrell, although there should be – both morally and politically – in order to stand up for decolonization and Palestinian rights to reclaim their land.
The European Council of Foreign Relations, for example, has suggested a “rights-based policy to break the cycle of conflict” as attention turns towards rebuilding Gaza and the EU’s investment in the process, juxtaposed against the Biden administration’s reluctance to involve itself beyond the minimum. A “rights-based policy” will not yield any progress for the Palestinian people; it will turn into another farce of negotiations used as a cover by Israel to continue with its colonization of Palestinian land with little more than the usual, disposable condemnations standing in its way.
This was not just a refusal to meet an EU diplomat based upon what another EU official had said which allegedly angered Israel. It was a display of the contempt which the settler-colonial state reserves for anyone who does not dance to its tune, even its allies. The bloc has certainly counted losses in the past inflicted by Israel – notably the destruction of EU-funded structures for Palestinian civilians — yet it continues to allow Israel to participate in research projects and allocate grants which are supposed to be based upon complete adherence to human rights. Israel clearly does not fulfil that particular requirement, but gets preferential treatment from Brussels anyway.
Despite the diplomatic spat created by Israel, the EU is only concerned with the Israeli criticism of Borrell, not the outright rejection of a diplomatic visit. And yet, Israel’s attitude, based on bogus claims, will not deter the EU’s pursuit of Israeli interests above those of the Palestinian people. Borrell merely called for a ceasefire, something that most diplomats agreed with and which Israel would have expected; he did not express outrage to the extent that retribution was not only inevitable but also deserved in Zionist eyes. Perhaps the EU should take note of its ally’s disloyalty, before embarking on further charades about human rights which do nothing but prevent Palestinians from enjoying political access at an international level.
Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger; her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America