By Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah
In comparison to the madman in the White House, Europe may
look less bellicose, less confrontational and less
unreasonable in its overall approach to contentious
However, when the issue is the Palestinian plight, the US
and Europe look very much like tweedledee and tweedledum.
In recent months and years, European leaders from Germany’s
Merkel, to France’s Sarkozy, to Britain’s Brown and Italy’s
Berlusconi were shamelessly pandering to Israeli savagery
to the extent of embracing relentless Israeli criminality
against the Palestinian people , including the ongoing
genocidal ethnic cleansing in the occupied Palestinian
territories, particularly in the Gaza Strip.
True, the European tone of speech often sounds less odious
especially when compared with the unmitigated
saber-rattling coming from Washington. But, in the final
analysis, the outcome in both cases is similar. In fact,
the US and Europe collaborate and even collude to effect
the same unethical goals often by playing the old game of
Mutt and Jeff (good cop and bad cop), with their persecuted
victims, whether in Palestine, Sudan or Iran.
But Europe has been playing the “good-cop role” so
miserably that many people in the Middle East ( I am
speaking of ordinary people, not the dignity-free American
puppet regimes) are wondering whether Europe, too, has been
taken over by the war-minded neocons.
To be sure, no Palestinian or Arab is demanding that
Europe, especially countries such as Germany, adopt a
hostile stand toward Israel.
However, European states, including Germany, should,
regardless of all other considerations including the heavy
legacy of the holocaust, make it abundantly clear to Israel
that blockading the Palestinians, starving them and killing
them are criminal acts that go far beyond the pale of what
Some European officials do make occasional statements
criticizing Israeli atrocities and draconian actions
against helpless Palestinians. However, European reluctance
to act on these statements suggests that the EU is not
serious about adopting an honest approach to Palestinian
If Europe wants to be serious and honest with regard to
Israel’s manifestly criminal behavior in the West Bank,
East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, it should tell the thuggish
Israeli leadership that the strangulation of Gaza is as
evil as the strangulation of the Ghetto Warsaw in 1943.
It should tell Israel that starving and tormenting and
killing innocent people under the pretext of punishing
Hamas for not recognizing the manifestly criminal state is
incompatible with the international law and human decency.
It should tell Israel that strangling the Palestinian
economy in the West Bank by erecting more than 500
Nazi-like roadblocks outside every Palestinian town,
village, hamlet and refugee camp is a crime against
humanity which Europe can’t tolerate.
Europe should tell Israel that barring tens of thousands of
Palestinian intellectuals, journalists and writers from
traveling abroad is unacceptable.
Israel routinely indulges in every conceivable violation of
Palestinian dignity and human rights, and Europe is not
unaware of the situation as hundreds of European observers,
monitors, diplomats and activists based in the occupied
Territories regularly communicate to their capitals the
bleak reality of the Israeli occupation.
Hence, European inaction or reluctance to call the spade a
spade so long as Israel is concerned is not due to
ignorance of reality in Palestine, but rather to a willful
European decision to play blind, deaf and dumb and look the
other way, thus effectively leaving the Palestinians alone
to face their fate at the hands of a state that is very
much a crime against humanity.
In recent weeks, Israel said it would build thousands of
fresh Jewish-only settler units all over the West Bank,
including occupied Arab East Jerusalem. This constitutes a
brazen violation of the Quartet-sponsored “roadmap” and the
spirit of the entire “peace process” between Israel and the
And while the decision drew angry reactions from some
peace-minded Israeli circles, such Gush Shalom (Peace
Bloc), the capitals of Europe were totally silent.
To be honest, French Foreign Minister Bernard Koshner, who
is a Jew, criticized the colonial expansion during a
investment conference in Bethlehem in the West Bank last
week. However, the cordial embrace of Israel by French
President Sarkozy seems to have convinced the Israeli
leadership that whatever criticisms of Israeli crimes
uttered by the French foreign minister should be dismissed
outright as insincere PR ruse geared toward Arab
On May 23, the United Nations reported that the number of
Israeli roadblocks in the West Bank increased by 7 per cent
since Last September. This is despite repeated pledges and
undertakings by the Zionist state to ease Palestinian
The UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
in Jerusalem reported that the overall number of roadblocks
and other barriers increased from 566 on September 4, 2007,
to 607 on April 29, 2008. Israel, the report said removed
103 obstacles, but constructed 144 new closures.
Again, there has been no word of condemnation from the
capitals of Europe, the very capitals that been boycotting
the Hamas movement for refusing to recognize the legitimacy
of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and genocidal ethnic
cleansing of its native inhabitants.
Paradoxically, this shameful silence comes amid a loud
chorus of European calls for reviving the moribund
Palestinian economy, mainly due to Israeli restrictions on
mobility and accessibility.
Tony Blair, the hopelessly dishonest former British Prime
Minister has used every conceivable occasion to promote his
“economy-first” theory with regard to the Palestinians,
mainly in the hope that economic inducements would entice
the Palestinians to compromise on such paramount cardinal
issues such as the right of return for the refugees and
However, despite all his meetings with Israeli officials
and highly optimistic pronouncements, all he has been able
to achieve is to get the Israeli army to remove one or two
roadblocks out of more than 500.
This is the man who has been striving to convince the world
that building a prosperous Palestinian economy under a
Nazi-like Israeli occupation was a choice worth pursuing.
Needless to say, a morally-inconsistent European approach
toward the Palestinian plight doesn’t auger well, neither
for Europe nor for the world at large.
Indeed, if Europe, along with the US, continues to allow
the “forces of the jungle” to determine the rule of the
game (international politics), then all states will have to
draw their conclusions because survival is paramount for
nations as well as individuals. And if strength only
respects strength, then everyone will have to be strong or
risk extinction or at least enslavement by the powerful.
I am saying this because what America and Europe seem to be
telling the Palestinians is that as long as you are weak,
you will continue to be killed, raped, persecuted and
starved to death, otherwise you’ve got to settle for a life
of perpetual enslavement by the “chosen people.”
Some states, such as Iran, have already got and
internalized the message, and sooner or later, other states
will follow suit.
Is this the ideal world Europe would want to see?