European foreign ministers agree that annexation is against international law and that the theft of other people’s territory is anathema to the core principles of the EU. But the union has a long history of turning a blind eye, reports Robert Fisk
6 hours ago
The ‘illegal’ Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev near the Palestinian city of Ramallah ( AFP via Getty )
Annex away, Israel. The EU may huff and puff and ruffle through its faded pages of international law. But if Bibi and Gantz decide to gobble up more Arab lands by the mouthful in a month’s time – all the Jewish colonies on stolen land, the entire Jordan river bank and lots of morsels in between – the EU will do absolutely nothing. Zero. Zilch.
Romantics in Europe, even in Israel, may still cling to the wreckage of old dreams; that Israel cannot afford to upset one of its biggest trading partners – glorious civilisational, law-abiding Europe – by stealing vast swathes of territory that doesn’t belong to it. But the spars and struts and lifeboats of the old legalistic EU were only ever illusions. Whether or not the revolving-chair prime ministers in Jerusalem wait until 1 July to announce their final chapter in Israel’s history of colonial exploitation, Europe has acquiesced for so long in this country’s vile treatment of the Palestinians that Europeans are going to have to sit back and accept this final slap in the face from Israel.
There’s been much codswallop written in the past few days about Europe’s unfortunate divisions; that Israel, for example, can always rely on Hungary and Poland to stand by their cruel policies – and destroy any hope of a joint EU declaration on the continuation of a land theft that dwarfs even Russia’s aggression in the Ukraine. Indeed, we’ve even heard it remarked that there can be no comparisons between the two annexations. Giant Russia was occupying the land and property of a small sovereign state on its border. Outrageous. Israel, on the other hand, isn’t doing anything of the kind on the West Bank or in east Jerusalem or Golan – because the Palestinians never did have a state, did they? When was there ever a Palestinian nation? Quite so. Tut-tut.