Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Europe: A bunch of 'eminent' and arrogant old timers want to punish Israel

Benjamin Weinthal writes @ Jerusalem Post  

Responding to a group calling itself the European Eminent Persons Group on Middle East issues (EEPG),which urged the EU to take unilateral actions against the Jewish state for the stagnate peace process, Israeli experts leveled sharp criticism.

In an email to the Jerusalem Post on Friday, Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg , the president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, wrote, “Far from being a peace proposal, this is a re-statement of standard European mythology, which is based entirely on and reinforces the Palestinian narrative of unending conflict. This approach patronizes Palestinians, treating them like children incapable of moral behavior or of taking responsibility for their actions, while legitimate Israel security concerns are erased. As a result, Israelis and Palestinians alike do not take the EU seriously.”

Steinberg added “Many of the signatories made a bad situation worse while they held official positions. For example, Mary Robinson presided over the disastrous 2001 UN ‘Durban Conference’ which launched the Palestinian BDS and lawfare processes. And as the EU's foreign policy czar, Javier Solana was repeatedly manipulated and exploited by [Yasser] Arafat. Under Solana, the EU secretly began to channels millions of Euros to anti-peace NGOs -- a policy that continues to cause major damage.” Robinson and Solana signed the letter along with a group of former European diplomats and politicians from Germany, France, Portugal, the Netherlands and Austria.

The EEPG wrote that the EU should support in the UN Security Council “ a resolution that either calls for new negotiations and sets a mandatory deadline for the completion of an agreement to establish a two-state solution; or creates a greater equivalence between the Israeli and Palestinian parties, including through recognition of a Palestinian state and strong support for Palestine accession to international treaties and organizations.”

The group called for” EU-wide introduction of guidelines for correct labelling of settlement products, to be complemented by tougher measures to contain settlement expansion and steps to operationalize the EU’s policy of non-recognition of Israeli sovereignty beyond the 1967 borders across the full range of EU-Israeli relations.”

Ambassador Shimon Stein, who served as Israel’s Ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2007, said by email to the Post, The letter from "a bunch of arrogant old timers is irrelevant. Their letter together with other initiatives should be seen as a harbinger. If the Netanyahu government will not become pro active ,and if the status quo will continue then do expect such initiative to mount.There is a need for a process initiated by Israel in coordination with the US. Bottom line expect ‘eminents ‘ and others to feel the vacuum."

Steinberg said , “Vice President Mogherini would be well-advised to learn from the total failure of European policy in the Middle East under this group. The EU needs a new policy on the Middle East and Israel -- one that is based on reality rather than myth. Rather than reinforcing Palestinian rejectionism, the EU must begin by examining the implications of the chaos and terror from ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah and the disintegration of Syria, Iraq and Libya.” More.

Members of the self-styled European Eminent Persons Group:
 - Hubert Védrine, Foreign Minister of France (1997- 2002), Co-Chair of the EEPG
- Wolfgang Ischinger, Deputy Foreign Minister of Germany (1998- 2001) and current Chairman of the Munich Security Conference , Co- Chair of the EEPG
- Jeremy Greenstock, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the UN (1998- 2003), Co- Chair of the EEPG
- Andreas van Agt, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (1977- 1982)
- Frans Andriessen , Vice- President of the European Commission (1985- 1993)
- Laurens Jan Brinkhorst , Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands (2005- 2006)
- Hans van den Broek, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands (1982- 1993) and EU Commissioner for External Relations (1993- 1999)
- John Bruton, Prime Minister of Ireland (1994- 1997)
- Roland Dumas, Foreign Minister of France (1988- 1993) and President of the Constitutional Council (1995- 2000)
- Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations (2004- 2009) and Foreign Minister of Austria (2000- 2004)
- Elisabeth Guigou, French Minister of European Affairs (1990- 1993) and Minister of Justice of France (1997- 2000)
- Lena Hjelm-Wallén, Swedish Foreign Minister (1994- 1998) and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden (1995- 2002)
- Miguel Moratinos, Foreign Minister of Spain (2004- 2010) and EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process (1996- 2003)
- Teresa Patrício de Gouveia, Foreign Minister of Portugal (2003- 2004)
- Ruprecht Polenz, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag (2005- 2013) and Secretary- General of the CDU (2000)
- Mary Robinson, President of Ireland (1990- 1997) and UN Commissioner for Human Rights (1997
- 2002) - Michel Rocard, Prime Minister of France (1988- 1991)
- Javier Solana, EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (1999- 2009) and NATO Secretary- General (1995- 1999)
- Peter Sutherland, EU Commissioner for Competition (1985- 1989) and Director- General of the World Trade Organization (1993- 1995)

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