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By Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos

BESA Center Online Debate No. 8, March 22, 2018

Q: Following the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by US President Donald Trump, President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas is counting on the EU to support his cause. In his January 2018 meeting with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, he was assured “of the firm commitment of the EU to the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as shared capital of the two states – the State of Israel and the State of Palestine”. However, it remains questionable whether the EU has the necessary gravitas to play a catalytic political role in the peace process. BESA joins the debate by posing the question: Can Mahmoud Abbas achieve anything in Europe?

Respondents: Jonathan Schanzer, Alon Ben-Meir, Roland Freudenstein, Azriel Bermant, and Tsilla Hershco

 Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Washington DC

Mahmoud Abbas has already gained quite a lot from the Europeans. He has the sympathies of the EU and the support of its Middle East negotiators. This was evident during the Obama years, as European leaders lined up behind the American president as he engaged in a campaign to isolate Israel for its settlement policy in the West Bank. It was also evident throughout Abbas’s stop-and-go “Palestine 194” campaign, during which the aging Palestinian leader sought and gained unofficial recognition of statehood at the General Assembly and a host of other UN agencies.

However, there is a limit to how much leverage Abbas can gain from Europe. This was as true during the Obama years as it is with the new administration. Abbas is learning that now as he courts the Europeans for support amidst an increasingly bitter spat with the White House over Palestinian Authority funding and transparency. The White House has the Palestinians on their heels, and the Europeans simply don’t wield enough power to change that dynamic. The more Abbas looks to the Europeans for help, the more power he is likely to lose. In the end, Washington always trumps Brussels.

Alon Ben-Meir, Professor and Senior Fellow at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs and Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute, New York

The relationship between the EU and the PA has by and large been very positive, especially because the EU has been and continues to be the largest financial contributor to the PA. Moreover, the EU has always supported the two-state solution and has been openly critical of the occupation and the Israeli settlements, which it considers a major obstacle to peace.

Due to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Abbas wrongly concluded that the US can no longer be a neutral interlocutor, which flies in the face of the reality that the US is the only country that can exact any meaningful concession from Israel to achieve peace.

Moreover, whereas the EU is sympathetic to the Palestinian stance, it can do very little to change the dynamic of the peace process on its own. Hence, it is unrealistic for the PA to hope that the EU can revive the peace negotiations, particularly because the EU has limited sway over Israel. Abbas’s requests for the European community to recognize the Palestinian state may sway some nations to do so, but that would only harden the Israeli position.

Hence, Abbas’s decision to sidestep the US will simply go nowhere. He will have to come to the table sooner or later knowing that America’s role in the peace process has been, and will continue to be, indispensable.

Roland Freudenstein, Policy Director, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Brussels

Certainly, President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has led many in Europe to side more openly with the Palestinian Authority (PA), if only to spite Trump. In that respect, it made sense for PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to visit Europe in a renewed push to get more EU member states, and maybe the EU as a whole, to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state. Alas, there are still too many in Europe who see the futility of such a recognition in the absence of a peace agreement. Such an agreement would have to include not only two sovereign states, but also comprehensive security guarantees for Israel – after several wars of annihilation waged against it from Palestinian territory as well as from neighboring Arab states.

But if there is no recognition by the whole EU, Abbas asked European leaders, could there be at least an association agreement between the EU and the PA? This again was answered negatively by most EU leaders (with the notable exception of France) precisely because Palestine is not a sovereign state, and the PA is barely in control of the West Bank and certainly not of Gaza under Hamas. So, for the moment, the only thing Abbas might have achieved is a push to increase EU financial assistance to the PA – with the well-known problems of massive corruption and incitement to terrorism which are endemic in the PA. Quite an achievement, Mr. Abbas!

Azriel Bermant, Historian and Lecturer in International Relations at Tel Aviv University and at the Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Author of Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East(2016, Cambridge University Press)

In the wake of President Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it is understandable that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would head for Europe to shore up his position.  The Palestinians snubbed US VP Mike Pence during his recent trip to the Middle East, and have declared that the Americans will no longer have an exclusive role to play as a mediator. The Europeans will do what they can to save the two-state solution, and Abbas traveled to Europe well aware that he would receive the red carpet treatment. During his meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in Brussels, Abbas pleaded for EU member states to recognize a Palestinian state. Slovenia may be about to do so.

If several EU member states take such a step, this would provide a short-term morale boost for the Palestinian leader. However, EU member states are divided on Israel/Palestine and Mogherini would be well aware that no progress is possible without constructive American leadership. This is in short supply at present. Europe will be unable to improve the prospects for Palestinian independence and drive negotiations forward when the minimal demands of Israelis and Palestinians are unbridgeable and the US president is busy sabotaging his own supposed deal of the century to end the conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians.

Tsilla Hershco, Research Associate, BESA Center, Bar-Ilan University

Over the years, Europe has gradually supported the upgrade of the status of the Palestinian Authority.  For instance, Europe supported Abbas’s unilateral request to grant the Palestinian Authority non-member observer state status at the UN General Assembly (November 2012).  Europe has systematically and one-sidedly condemned Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria as a major factor in undermining the peace process, while ignoring the Palestinians’ incitements and acts of terror as a major factor that led to a deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Recently Europe unequivocally supported Abbas’s denunciation of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

It is reasonable to assume that Europe will continue to provide economic and political support to the Palestinians as this support remains one of the few areas of agreement among the member states, who are divided on numerous major issues such as the common budget, common defense policy, immigration, counter-terrorism, etc. Concurrently, there are still prospects that France’s President Emmanuel Macron will continue to oppose unilateral moves regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Macron’s opposition to unilateral steps is significant due to his growing influence within the EU. In addition, Eastern European countries that maintain close ties with Israel are likely to oppose extreme unilateral moves such as supporting Abbas’s demand for the UN recognition of a Palestinian state.

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By Alan Dershowitz

yellow star of David patchWhy are so many of the grandchildren of Nazis and Nazi collaborators who brought us the Holocaust once again declaring war on the Jews?

Why have we seen such an increase in anti-Semitism and irrationally virulent anti-Zionism in western Europe?

To answer these questions, a myth must first be exposed. That myth is the one perpetrated by the French, the Dutch, the Norwegians, the Swiss, the Belgians, the Austrians, and many other western Europeans: namely that the Holocaust was solely the work of German Nazis aided perhaps by some Polish, Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian collaborators.

False.

The Holocaust was perpetrated by Europeans — by Nazi sympathizers and collaborators among the French, Dutch, Norwegians, Swiss, Belgians, Austrians and other Europeans, both Western and Eastern. (more…)

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This is part of the Muslim culture, to warmly greet infidels by gang-raping them?

The alleged perpetrators of this heinous crime were not terrorists. They were just run-of-the-mill Islamofascist animals. Whether goats, women, sheep or camels…it’s all the same to these prehistoric relics, especially if the women are infidels, then they get further brutalization.

Enemy appeasers had better either get their heads dislodged from their asses or get used to such treatment, or worse. Appeasers, like the EU and American liberals, have all but bent over and spread their ass cheeks, just asking for Muslims to screw them rather than fight them the way brave and wise Americans do.

I guess she just forgot to bring her marshmallows and Kumbaya sheet music along. This surely would have given her more “hope“:

[Muslim] Asylum Seekers Held After British Journalism Student Gang-Raped in Calais ‘Jungle’ Ghetto

A British woman has been raped by a gang of asylum seekers in Calais, it has been alleged.

The journalism student wanted to highlight the plight of migrants who sleep rough in a squalid camp at the French port before trying to sneak into Britain.

She was subjected to a horrific attack by six Afghan men she intended to write about, it was claimed. (more…)

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Should Israel Sink The Ship?

Israel fears European ship may sail to Gaza to ‘break siege’

By Barak Ravid

Israel is worried by reports that a group of left-wing activists from Europe plans to set sail for Gaza from Cyprus on August 5 under the slogan “breaking the siege.”

The activists will reportedly include three members of the European Parliament.

It is still not certain how serious the plans are. However, Israel fears that if the ship does sail, it will create a provocation that would at best cause public relations damage, and could even result in violence. (more…)

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Obama’s Unilateralism Outrages Europe

DOES Barack Obama intend to break the united front that the Bush administration has built to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions? The question, posed by US allies in Europe and the Middle East, shows the growing concerns about Obama’s contradictory remarks on the issue.

Initially, Obama announced that he’d seek unconditional talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Later, he changed that to talks with “appropriate Iranian leaders” and tried to skirt the “unconditional” bit of his pledge by saying that some “preparatory work” might be needed before he’d sit with an Iranian interlocutor.

What isn’t clear is whether Obama would insist that Iran respect the unanimous decision of the UN Security Council to stop uranium enrichment.

The new UN compromise package, presented by the European Union foreign-policy czar Javier Solana to the mullahs this month, is structured around the demand that Iran stop enrichment as prerequisite for dialogue.

Tehran, however, insists that the enrichment issue is “closed for ever” – clearly hoping that an Obama administration would endorse that position. If the US is likely to drop that key demand soon, there’s no reason why Iran should meet it now.

Obama, in other words, pulled the carpet from under Solana’s feet while the mullahs watched and chuckled. (more…)

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Those two Egyptian students at the University of South Florida who were caught with pipe bombs near a South Carolina Navy base have been indicted, and one of them turns out to have a history of involvement in terrorism.

There you have it. These two are “victims” and given the fact that one of them “smiles” a lot, there’s no way he’s a terrorist. Case solved.

Yeah. That’s the ticket.

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From IBD:

Nihad Ass-Wad of CAIRTrail Of Terror: We’ve wondered why the Council on American-Islamic Relations director has spurned Senate invitations to answer terror charges. Now we know.

For the first time, evidence in a major federal terror case puts CAIR’s current executive director — Nihad Awad — at a Philadelphia meeting of alleged Hamas leaders that was secretly recorded by the FBI.

After the Associated Press last week reported the bombshell, CAIR denied claims of ties to Hamas. “That’s one of those urban legends about CAIR,” said Parvez Ahmed, CAIR’s chairman. “It’s fed by the right-wing, pro-Israeli blogosphere.”

In fact, the evidence was revealed by an FBI agent who testified at the terror-financing trial under way in Dallas. (more…)

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Patrick Poole uncovers another CAIR-related outrage in central Ohio: CAIR Goes Back to School.

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