President Obama has done significant damage to a once iron-clad partnership between the United States and Israel, but they remain close allies despite the friction. If reports coming out of the European Union are right, though, we could soon stand alone in our defense of the country. According to a secret document that has been distributed to each of the EU’s 28 member states, plans are in progress to hit Israel with harsh sanctions if they move forward with continued settlement development.
The sanctions, still in the early stages of consideration, could include trade restrictions, limited governmental cooperation, and compulsory labels for products made in the West Bank. They come as a result of increased concern among European governments over what they view as Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. There is fear that Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem could make a 2-state solution impossible in the future.
Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, has said there should be no connection between the country’s Palestinian conflicts and their relationship with Europe. “One thing should be clear: we will never accept the definition of building in Jewish neighborhoods as settlement activity. We won’t accept any limitation on building in Jewish areas of Jerusalem.”
EU Liberals Blind to History
It is becoming increasingly clear that a true peace between Israel and the Arab world is not to be had, at least not within our lifetimes. What is disturbing is how quickly European liberals (to say nothing of their American counterparts) have forgotten history. This is not a war that Israel asked for. While you may have your thoughts on their unwillingness to compromise, you must consider the kind of violence and rhetoric they see from the other side.
One of the biggest myths sold by the Islamic world is that this conflict is centuries in the making. That’s really not the case. Jews lived and thrived under Arab governments for much of the last thousand years. While they were oppressed under an Islamic majority, they were allowed to practice their religion in peace. They were not seen as some great enemy to Islam. That all changed when Nazi propaganda began to filter down into Egypt and the rest of the Middle East. Today’s Arab intolerance for the Jews is not just similar to the views of the Third Reich; they are directly influenced by them.
After a humiliating defeat in what came to be known as the Six Day War, Arab countries became more susceptible than ever to the lure of fundamentalist Islam. The population became convinced that it was their Westernization that had caused God to favor Israel in the fight. This shift laid the foundation for everything we’ve seen since: the Iranian Revolution, the formation of al Qaeda, and an absolute, abiding hatred for the West.
Peace is not possible under these circumstances. Until we have another massive shift in the Arab world, the fundamentalists and the terrorists will continue to grow stronger. With that strength – largely buoyed by rampant anti-Semitism – they will continue to attack Israel and its allies until they win or are destroyed. Sanctioning Israel in such a situation is worse than misguided; it borders on evil.