An European Union flag is lowered at half-mast in honor of the victims of the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, outside the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, July 15, 2016. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel is trying to prevent an internal EU document blaming Palestinian terrorism on the “occupation” from coming up for discussion in EU institutions in Brussels, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The paper, drafted late last year by all the EU countries with consulates in Jerusalem and embassies in Ramallah, stated that the wave of knifing attacks, car ramming and shootings since October is – as the EUobserver reported this week – “due, in large part, to Israel’s occupation.”
The EUobserver, which saw the 39-page paper, wrote that according to the document, the attacks that began in October and have since then claimed some 40 lives “began after right-wing Israeli politicians and religious groups began to question the status quo on Arab rights at the Temple Mount complex in the Old City.”
But, the document claimed, the loss of hope in a two-state solution and poor living conditions formed the “psychological root” for the terrorism.
The document is at odds with a position that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been hammering in recent weeks: there is no difference between the terrorism against Israel and that now spreading around the globe, and that the root of both is Islamist extremism.
One Western diplomatic official told the Post, however, that this position is not gaining much traction in Europe, where the tendency is to see the terrorism in Israel as caused by the “occupation,” and not of the same ilk as the terrorism hitting Europe.
The EU representatives in Jerusalem and Ramallah have over the years drawn up a number of papers very critical of Israel, but they are not always adopted by the EU institutions and converted into EU policy.
The document, according to the EUobserver, is not meant to be published, but serve instead as a “reference document” for meetings of EU foreign ministers and for proposals put forward by the EU.
The paper, according to the EUobserver, blamed the occupation for “higher levels of drug abuse, division and displacement of families, domestic violence, loss of cultural identity, and high levels of stress and depression.”
The document also claimed that the Israeli reaction to the wave of terrorism since October – including the use of lethal force to stop attacks, and home demolitions – only made matters worse.
It added that “both sides” are guilty of “inflammatory rhetoric.” The document also charges Israel with manipulating archeological digs to denigrate Palestinian historical links to Jerusalem.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that the paper is only an internal draft that has not yet been presented to EU institutions, and that Israel would respond only if it were formally presented to the EU in September.
Noting that July 20 was the final day for work in the EU in Brussels before summer recess, Nahshon said, “I wish the consuls a good vacation, and hope that they will not come up against manifestations of extreme Islamist violence during their vacations in Europe.”