Monday, 3 December 2012

Frau Merkel - be tough with Israel

To "punish" the Palestinians for applying for UN recognition, Israel has announced the building of more settler houses in the Occupied Territories. This time they want to build in an area that is to make it even more difficult to reach a two state solution. 

Who will punish Israel for this outrageous response? The USA cannot be relied upon. But, unless Israel will be made to pay a high price for its belligerence, it will not stop. Keeping European criticism to verbal displeasure is not enough. 

There is a substantial proportion of Israel's population and an important majority in that part of the population which forms the economic power base of Israel who do not like this right-wing activism and settlement policy. And yet, many of them vote for parties that either declare their wish to hold on to the occupied land or quietly support it without fully showing their hand. This population  may not gcontinue to do so once Israel gets to pay a price for its expansionist policies. 

In two days, Netanyahu and his cabinet will be coming to berlin for their annual get together. Ideally,  Mrs. Merkel should have found a way to postpone the visit. Because of Germany's history, Merkel is unlikely to do so.  nad, six weeks before the General Elections in Israel, Netanyahu will milk this visit to the end to prove his international standing to his own population. This must be prevented. 

Mrs. Merkel believes that Germany, because of its history, shares responsibility for Israel's security. This can sometimes be accomplished by the supply of U-boats. Sometimes, other measures are called for. She should now be cruel to be kind and help save Israel from its own self destructive spiral.

The least Mrs. Merkel should do is to prevent any photo opportunities, any show of public sympathy or any cultural programme for Netanyahu and his colleagues. 

Please, Mrs. Merkel. 


  1. Hope she reads this!

  2. You are soo right!

  3. Israel needs Europe to rely on for its survival?

    In 1973, Israel was attacked by the combined armies and airforce of both Syria and Egypt on two fronts - the Yom Kippur War. By virtue of surprise and strength, for a few days, Israel was in great danger of being over-run. It pleaded with the US to resupply arms, tanks, munitions, aircraft - which the US eventually agreed to do. However, it needed airfields in Europe to refuel the Hercules planes as they flew in that much needed life saving equipment. It was maybe one of the most dangerous moments in Israel's struggle for survival. David Ranan was probably in Israel and saw the planes arrive, to enormous relief from the population of that country.

    The Europeans, in the face of Israeli and US requests, had refused to allow the planes to land in their territory. Eventually, if memory serves correctly, the US duped Portugal to allow the planes to refuel in the Azores.

    The Europeans, for whatever reason one can imagine (and I can imagine one or two) were prepared to stand back and watch Israel go down. Unquestionably. Was this how Germany felt it shared some responsibility for Israel's security? That day, the Israel government learned a considerable amount about who its real friends were, about who it should listen to for advice.

    And it wasn't the Europeans. That lesson remains learned.

    The Oslo Accord peace process is now formally at an end. A base line parameter of that Accord was that neither Israel or the Palestian Authority would seek unilateral action to undermine the stated track to peace negotiations. That has now been done, by virtue of the PA seeking the UN vote. That action to terminate Oslo has been endorsed by the UN in its recent vote.

    Israel was left to draw its own conclusions.The PA does not intend to negotiate a solution, but to seek to impose one. And its solution does not encompass the survival of the Jewish state.


  4. Da bin ich anderer Meinung. Mit dem Reden kann man immer noch aufhören,
    besser ist es doch, im Gespräch zu bleiben.
    Wahrscheinlich spielen F, GB und D sowie so ein EU-internes Good/Bad

  5. As I wrote before, it is a rather odd notion to ask of an Israeli prime minister to relinquish Jerusalem voluntarily. Ever since Jews were driven away 2000 years ago from the city they founded, they have been praying: "... and next year in Jerusalem". Jerusalem is the epitomy of Judaism in the geographical, material world. It is the place where the Jewish temples once stood, of which one outer wall still exists, now their Holy of Holies. There can - quite obviously - not be a return to pre-67 staus, when Jews were denied access to that wall and had to use binoculars to so much as catch a glimpse of it. So Jews will want to see, visit, breathe in, study in and dwell in Jerusalem. No Jewish Israeli prime minister, past, present or future can afford to give up Jerusalem. It is presumably for that reason also that the PLO and Abbas refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Israel may or may not perish one day, but its fate is inextricably bound up with Jerusalem - all of it, undivided.

    This leads me to the next point. Everybody - including the Israelis - realizes full well that Muslims have a rightful claim to Jerusalem too. Their third most sacred site lies in Jerusalem. A part of the population is Muslim. There is a need to talk this over patiently. Solutions may be long in coming and they may not be all to Israeli or Palestinian liking. But there is no other way.

    Hence the third point: If there is to be a two-state-solution, then it is not enough to simply say so. Much needs to be negotiated, determined and settled:
    Who negotiates on the Palestinian side, if there is one side; armament; air space; water rights; energy supplies; policing; travel (to and from Gaza); trade and customs; money flow and banking; etc. etc. (I won`t even mention the status of Jerusalem again).

    Finally my fourth and least important point: Why on earth should Frau Merkel not be seen to shake hands with the democratically elected prime minister of Israel? Because he has autorized the building of apartments near Jerusalem? Is that all? Should requests like that not better be left to the lunatic fringe of society?
    These apartments may or may not be the peak of wordly wisdom, but we have all heard of many a worse crime than that - if they are a crime at all!