Middle East Monitor / July 13, 2021
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid stressed the importance of a “new start” in relations with the EU, during a meeting of the European Foreign Affairs Council yesterday. The EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell echoed the sentiment, describing the meeting as “a great chance to restart relations with Israel.”
Yet the way forward for Israel is a continuation of what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu achieved in his collaboration with the Trump Administration: expanding on the normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states, which allows the defunct relevance of the two-state compromise to take centre stage in international diplomacy. This is the card Lapid played at the EU.
“It is no secret that I support a two-state solution,” Lapid asserted. “Unfortunately, there is no current plan for this. However, there is one thing we all need to remember. If there is eventually a Palestinian state, it must be a peace-loving democracy.”
Surely, the EU’s state-building illusions in Palestine are not contributing to a democracy – the Palestinian Authority is seeing to that, as the recent extrajudicial killing and repression of dissent by the Palestinian security services demonstrated.
Lapid will support the two-state politics because Israel’s de facto annexation and the international community’s silence over colonial land grabs ensure no emergence of a Palestinian state. There is no “new start” for Israel and the EU.
Lapid also emphasized the humanitarian over the political for Palestinians in his meeting with EU foreign ministers. What better way to ensure an extension of the same politics than to assert the humanitarian agenda, “to improve the lives of Palestinians” while simultaneously taking their land?
When Israel was busy massacring Gaza in May this year, Borrell played down or stated the EU’s state of affairs when it comes to influencing Israel, saying that only the US had the power to intervene and that the EU lost its capacity to influence due to diverging views on Palestine and Israel among member states. On the other hand, the EU views itself as the primary entity aiding Palestinians. Humanitarian aid, Borrell stated, should not be underestimated.
However, Borrell does not add that the EU’s two-state, humanitarian agenda is feeding into Israel’s colonization agenda. Lapid’s call for a “peace-loving democracy” is merely a warning to prevent a democratic and decolonized Palestinian state from ever emerging. Israel plays its part through the Trump-Netanyahu legacy. With no land available for Palestinians to build a state, no peace-loving democracy can emerge, particularly when the EU is intent on supporting and funding the PA, despite its refusal to hold democratic elections to allow Palestinians to choose their government. The EU, along with the international community, will continue to refuse decolonization as a viable option and insist upon the two-state compromise, knowing full well it is unachievable.
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