Visions of European persecution of Jews were raised on Thursday as the European Union parliament voted to move forward with plans to label Israeli products from Judea and Samaria, historical Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights in “the spirit of differentiation” between such Jewish communities and the rest of Israel, according to Haaretz. The territories, all claimed by Arabs, were acquired by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Haaretz reported that Israeli officials fear the measure, which passed by a wide margin, is a step towards boycotts of Israeli products. Regardless, it shows a clear statement by the EU on what they believe Israel’s borders should be, despite a lack of negotiations on the topic between Israel and the Arabs who claim the land. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the vote hearkened to dark days for European Jewry.
“The root of the conflict is not the territories, and the root of the conflict is not the settlements,” said Netanyahu. “We have historical memory of what happened when Europe labelled Jewish products.”
The Israeli leader’s statement, which was released by his office, termed the European move “a distortion of justice” and a step that “does not advance peace.”
The same day the vote took place, Netanyahu reiterated that he is open to talking peace with the Palestinians any place, any time.
“I’m willing right now, without any preconditions, any preconditions whatsoever, to sit down with President [Mahmoud] Abbas and negotiate this peace,” Netanyahu told British members of Parliament in comments released by his office.
“I’m willing to go to Ramallah… or President Abbas can come to Jerusalem, or we can take up some of these suggestions for retreats in Sicily or fjords in Norway. Whatever. Anytime, anywhere, now, without preconditions.”
But while Israel was offering to talk peace in Europe, the Palestinians were scoring another victory without negotiations at the United Nations. The Palestinians are one of two non-member observer states at the UN along with the Vatican, and now their flag will be raised at UN offices after UN members voted to approve the step according to a report by the UN News Centre.
The US was one of the nations opposed to the move. In comments released by the US Mission to the UN, American Ambassador Samantha Power explained her nation’s opposition by saying the move “will not bring the parties closer to peace.”
The US has long said Palestinian statehood issues should be resolved through negotiations with Israel, and Power reiterated that. “Our vote reflects the reality that the parties themselves must ultimately take the constructive, responsible steps required to achieve a two-state solution.”
Two different votes on the same day, both in favor of the Palestinians, and both likely to make peace even harder to achieve.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 10, 2015)