Israel urges world to curb criticism of Egypt’s Mubarak (so speaks the real voice of the only democracy in M.E)

Jerusalem seeks to convince its allies that it is in the West’s interest to maintain the stability of the Egyptian regime.

Israel called on the United States and a number of European countries over the weekend to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the region.

Jerusalem seeks to convince its allies that it is in the West’s interest to maintain the stability of the Egyptian regime. The diplomatic measures came after statements in Western capitals implying that the United States and European Union supported Mubarak’s ouster.

Israeli officials are keeping a low profile on the events in Egypt, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even ordering cabinet members to avoid commenting publicly on the issue.

Senior Israeli officials, however, said that on Saturday night the Foreign Ministry issued a directive to around a dozen key embassies in the United States, Canada, China, Russia and several European countries. The ambassadors were told to stress to their host countries the importance of Egypt’s stability. In a special cable, they were told to get this word out as soon as possible.

EU foreign ministers are to discuss the situation in Egypt at a special session today in Brussels, after which they are expected to issue a statement echoing those issued in recent days by U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Obama called on Mubarak to take “concrete steps” toward democratic reforms and to refrain from violence against peaceful protesters, sentiments echoed in a statement Saturday night by the leaders of Britain, France and Germany.

“The Americans and the Europeans are being pulled along by public opinion and aren’t considering their genuine interests,” one senior Israeli official said. “Even if they are critical of Mubarak they have to make their friends feel that they’re not alone. Jordan and Saudi Arabia see the reactions in the West, how everyone is abandoning Mubarak, and this will have very serious implications.”

Netanyahu announced at Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting that the security cabinet will convene Monday to discuss the situation in Egypt.

“The peace between Israel and Egypt has lasted for more than three decades and our objective is to ensure that these relations will continue to exist,” Netanyahu told his ministers. “We are closely monitoring events in Egypt and the region and are making efforts to preserve its security and stability.”

The Foreign Ministry has called on Israelis currently in Egypt to consider returning home and for those planning to visit the country to reconsider. It is telling Israelis who have decided to remain in Egypt to obey government directives.

Ref: Haaretz

RESISTANCE: Europe remains unwilling to walk in Israel’s shoes

The arrest order issued in Britain against Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni is nothing but one of many symptoms of a deep and long-running problem that is unlikely to be solved as long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues.

The apology by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (whose own government would be well advised to deal with the issue, of which it has long been aware) and his government’s plan to tackle the problem through legislation, will not solve our troubles with the European Union.

The root of the problems lies in the fundamental disagreements between Israel and the EU regarding the manner in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved and our conduct vis-a-vis the Palestinians. The conclusions of the EU council of foreign ministers on the peace process, adopted last month in Brussels, and the harsh criticism of Israel voiced by the EU’s new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, are only the most recent examples of the deep gap that has existed for years between us and Europe.

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The disagreements do not stem mainly from economic considerations and interests, although their role in shaping the positions of certain EU members should not be discounted. The reasons are deeper and are linked to the lesson taken by European states from the profound trauma of World War II. The preference for multilateral frameworks, the adherence to the principles of international law, the rejection of the use of force to change political realities, the sanctification of human rights as an absolute value (that is sometimes applied in a manner that leaves behind a sense of double standards) and empathy toward those who are perceived as being weak – all these are part of the principles by which the EU states conduct themselves.

The conduct of Israel, as a state that calls itself democratic, is not perceived by the EU countries as conforming to those principles. European politicians (if we permit ourselves to speak in generalities), not to mention the public, are generally unwilling to walk in the shoes of Israel, which operates as a democracy under threat, and to demonstrate understanding for the motivations behind its conduct. And any small understanding is not reflected in the media.

The threat of terror, which has become an inseparable part of Israel’s quotidian reality, and Israel’s responses – which are covered obsessively – bumps up against a European reality that with the exception of a few instance has not experienced the horrors of terror.

It follows from this that Israel’s responses to terror, which result in unintended harm to civilians, are not only met by a lack of understanding but represent a focus of harsh criticism.

One of the by-products of this criticism is the beginning of an open discussion among some European elites of the nature of Israel’s democracy as well as the extent of its legitimacy as a Jewish state, which is of great concern.

For years the EU has expressed its dissatisfaction with Israel’s political and military conduct with a policy of reward and punishment. When there are unilateral withdrawals and an active peace process, Israel receives a prize; the absence of a peace process and disproportionate military actions lead to punishments.

This pattern, which changes in accordance with the existence of the peace process or lack thereof, is based on a fundamental and mutual lack of trust.

After observing the situation for many years it is hard to escape the conclusion that Israel and the Europeans are conducting not a dialogue, but rather two monologues. A solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could lay the foundations for a new stage in our relations with Europe. Until that happens we must get used to reality, the expressions of which we have been witness to in recent weeks.

Ref: Haaretz

The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to Germany.

Jewish Settlers: We’ll Burn You All!

While Jewish settlers were burning the mosque of the village of Yasuf near the city of Nablus in the West Bank and writing on the walls of the village “We’ll burn you all”, which is the phrase German Nazis used to write on Jewish homes in the 1930s, EU member states backed down from a resolution proposed by Sweden to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state after the interference – as a result of Israeli pressure – of France and Germany, two countries involved in building the Israeli nuclear arsenal.

Despite the fact that the draft resolution was better than the resolution taken, they both fell short of meeting the requirements of international legitimacy. The draft resolution stated that the EU Council “urges” Israel to stop all settlement activity immediately, including those in East Jerusalem, and dismantling those built since “March 2001”. It stresses that the settlements, the segregation wall built on the occupied territories, and house demolition were all “illegal practices” according to international law and constitute a barrier to peace.” When the Council expressed “extreme concern” for the situation in East Jerusalem, it “called on all parties”, i.e. nuclear-armed Israel and the unarmed Palestinians to refrain from “provocative practices.” In this way, the settlers who burned the mosque of the village of Yasuf and the unarmed Palestinian civilians besieged in Gaza are considered the same.

The Council also called on “those detaining the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to release him immediately, while it completely ignored the fate of tens of thousands of Palestinian prisoners [held by Israel] kidnapped years ago, including women, children and elected members of the Palestinian parliament. This timid language does not condemn Israeli crimes like expelling the native people of the land and burning their homes. It considers the whole policy of ethnic cleansing and collective punishment mere “illegal practices” which do not (according to the draft resolution) require deterrent punishments for the Israeli rulers committing them in the same way Hamas should be punished and Iran should be punished for its nuclear policies.

In order to avoid showing the ugliness of Israeli crimes, it calls “all parties to refrain from provocative practices.” Thus the EU considers the Palestinian toddler whose home was demolished by Israel in the Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem, and who is sleeping in a tent with his family like hundreds of other Palestinian families in Gaza, as “a party” that should not provoke Israel!

All this European generous tolerance to Israeli crimes and all this timidity in standing up to them, even verbally, was faced by a ferocious Israeli campaign which was able to prevent the draft of a mere modest statement like this to be published. It succeeded in replacing the shy language which “urges,” “applauds” and “encourages” in an abstract, vague and unbinding language that does not have any force to stop the crimes or deter those who commit them.

Such a complacent European stance will not have a lasting political influence in favour of the cause of freedom and democracy in Palestine. That is why, and since the Zionist government realizes that blackmailing Europeans is an effective policy, prevented a European parliamentary delegation from visiting Gaza without fearing any firm European reaction. The Europeans found it sufficient to say “it was strange for the visit to be cancelled a few hours after the EU Council statement which is supported by a strong European position in relation to the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of 1967, and stopping settlement in the West Bank, including “East Jerusalem.’”

But the fact is that the EU did not express a “strong position” in relation to Jerusalem and the two-state solution. It rather bowed to Israeli blackmail and turned a blind eye to Israeli crimes against humanity. That is why it had to accept more Israeli blackmail when its MEPs were prevented from entering Gaza, and had their permission cancelled three hours after it was given. This official humiliation of the MEPs would not have been accepted by the smallest country in the world. So, how could it be accepted by the largest parliament Europe has ever known?

If the EU Council continues to succumb to Israeli pressures made by an extremist government, Israeli crimes against civilians will continue. International statistics show that between last year’s anniversary of the Human Rights Declaration and this year’s, Israel killed 1,460 Palestinians with Europe watching. Nevertheless, the EU Council equates “the parties”, the Israeli killer and the Palestinian victim.

Nevertheless, some people believe that for Sweden, which holds the current EU presidency, merely to dare propose a draft resolution considering Jerusalem the capital of two states, this means a positive shift and an act of breaking the barrier of fear which haunted Europe for decades as a result of the Holocaust-related guilt complex. I do not understand why the past continues to haunt those who were born after the Holocaust: the current generation of Europeans is not responsible for the Holocaust committed by the Nazis against German Jews. And the Israeli Jews of today are not victims of German anti-Semitism. They are those who kill Palestinian people and deprive them of freedom, democracy and human rights.

The only thing Western papers were interested in, as far as this important issue is concerned, is that Europe finally gave in to Israeli pressure which succeeded in curbing this European move. Articles in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, and the CNN report were all based on an Israeli source saying that Europe backed down from its call for considering East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine, and that this backing down was in the interest of Israel which is planning to Judaize Jerusalem, i.e. ethnically cleansing it by demolishing Palestinian homes and expelling Palestinians. What they are doing is actually leaving future European generations with a guilt complex greater than the one felt by the current generation’s guilt as a result of the Holocaust.

Their children and grandchildren will find it difficult to understand how their ancestors chose not to see facts because they feared Israeli blackmail, because of their greed for Jewish money or in order to get a political position.

In the wake of this shameful European submission to Israeli blackmail, events have shown that this has only boosted Israeli arrogance. There is no difference in this regard between the government and the settlers: while the Israeli government decided to prevent MEPs from entering Gaza so that they do not see the atrocities perpetrated against the Palestinian people, Israeli settlers, as usual, attacked the villages of Nablus this time where they burned a new big mosque in the village of Yasuf in the northern part of the West Bank, including its furniture and library, destroyed the electricity network and left Hebrew graffiti saying: “we’ll burn you all”, “prepare to pay the price.” With all this happening, the EU and others are merely asking for clarifications for the cancellation, clarifications for demolition, clarifications for killing, clarifications for expulsion, clarifications for humiliation. The only reasonable and logical clarification is that the Zionist entity is a racist entity based on the destruction of the native people, destroying their culture and institutions, depriving them of a free and dignified life and accusing them of threatening Israel’s security. But the racist Israeli entity is no longer a danger to the Palestinian people alone; it is endangering the relationship between Muslims and the West and peace and security in our region and the world. It is not the Palestinians alone who should confront this horrendous racism. Europe and the West should shoulder their responsibility in this regard. Hence, Israeli promotion in the West of ideas like banning minarets and veils and putting more restraints on Muslims all lead to aggravating conflicts between peoples.

Fortunately, however, the cowardice of western governments is countered by the courage of conscientious people and opinion leaders of the Western world. This is a transitional phase before the civilized world realizes the danger of the Zionist model not to the Arabs alone, but to international peace and security. Hence, taking a firm European decision against ethnic cleansing, settlement and killing is the Europeans’ duty not only towards Palestinians but towards Europeans themselves.

Ref: asharq-e.


ESSAY: European trade and Israeli occupation

The scope of this study is far too broad to be thoroughly examined by means of this
thesis. My aim however has been to present to the reader an outlook of the Human
Rights and Intellectual Property Rights of the Palestinian people, of how they can be
combined, and of how they sometimes interact. Since the violations inflicted upon the
Palestinians discussed in this study often have elements of both, it is however easy to
end up with a Human Rights perspective even though it has been my intention to shed
some light on both areas. For the future my hopes for peace and prosperity goes out to
the peoples in question – but how this will be achieved is truly another question.

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Czech minister admits mistake in describing Israeli ground operation as defensive

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg admitted on Sunday that a “large” and “personal” mistake had been made by a spokesperson for the new Czech presidency of the European Union on Saturday, when he described Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza as “more defensive than offensive.”

Schwarzenberg said that the spokesperson had made a personal mistake, adding that the only declaration by the Czech Presidency of the EU was that which was published by the foreign ministry. He added that the first declaration had been a misunderstanding.

A Czech government spokesman, Jiri Frantisek Potuznik, had told AFP on Saturday, “At the moment, from our perspective, we do understand that the action is part of the defensive action of Israel (…) we do understand that it is more defensive than offensive. This is the position of the Czech prime minister.”

The spokesperson also said that the Israeli ground operation in Gaza was about the crossing of the Gaza border, “There is no violence, no victims, so we are waiting for more information, we would like more details,” he said.

Ref: Now