I fell obliged to blog about that EU directive, but am torn between a certain amount of rage at Catherine Ashton and the Eurocrats, and an equally certain amount of disappointment at being proved right that Netanyahu’s strategy about peace talks missed the point. Oh dear.
First, the damned EU. One of my friends says the main underlying cause is Holocaust guilt. The nations of Europe can assuage their guilt by scoring points off the Jewish State. True? Perhaps. What seems evident is that they have NEVER been 100% on Israel’s side. For example, the European states cut Israel’s supply lines in the 1973 war. Without the USA, that treachery could have been fatal. More recently, their apathetic attitude to Israeli citizens under rocket fire, continues the trend. I’d like to see Ashton & Co in Sderot for a week or two during hostilities.
Second, Bibi and the Israeli diplomatic corps. Here’s what the Elder says:
Israel is partially at fault for not having a clear, consistent, legal-based message to world diplomats on issues like Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
Beyond the legalities, though, is the reality that the poster above means to show: the world is targeting Jews, and only Jews. See this great post by Yaacov Lozowick on Beit Safafa for examples of Arab Israelis who moved to the other side of the Green Line and are never considered “settlers”.
Israel is doing a poor job at explaining its side of the story, and EU documents like this – even if only an incremental step – are the result. Nothing Israel is doing points to moving the discourse in any other direction. So things like the verbiage “borders,” instead of causing a firestorm, are roundly believed to be accurate.
I agree that Israel’s message has not been clear, consistent, or legally based, and has not been successful. I also agree that Israel has not been explaining its side of the argument well enough. But whatever criticism might be levelled at the lower ranks, pales into insignificance alongside that which the leader deserves. He should take responsibility for those failures, because if he had his eyes and ears open, he would know about them. For example, he should know that in the world, perception is all. And he should know that, regardless of the true position, Israel is seen by too many (fairly or unfairly) as being the obstacle to peace. He should have sorted that perception. I believe he could have. (I believe even I could!)
Even worse, in my opinion, is his failure with Obama. Bibi should have gone to Obama before any building freeze and made sure Obama was onside. Every last detail; should have been worked out. He did not do that. So the building freeze was for nothing, people’s perceptions and flawed perspectives remain. And as sure as Ashton is no friend of Israel, Israel will have to make concessions to get some peace talks on the go. It’s enough to turn a man to drink.
Funnily enough, I have this new whisky…