EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Gaza 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/ Mohammed Salem)
Five days after three Israeli teenagers were abducted by Islamic terrorists, there was still silence from EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Attempts were made by both the prime minister and the foreign ministry’s deputy director- general for Europe to elicit a response. Still, not a word.
Excuse me while I feign surprise.
After all, it was the EU who welcomed the Hamas-Fatah unity government, on the grounds that it was “committed to a two state solution” and “to Israel’s right to exist.”
The “reconciliation pact” which formally ended the Fatah-Hamas split also put an end to another great myth: that Israel has a partner devoted to peace. The veil of accommodation with the West is invariably used as by Hamas as a means to expand its power. In fact relief – not reconciliation – was Hamas’ impetus to partner with Fatah. Faced with an increasing deficit and decaying government, Hamas joined forces with Abbas, who in return has taken on the burden of procuring funds for the 1.7 million citizens of Gaza – and their terrorist leaders.
The recent kidnapping proves that the faction’s motives are as malevolent now as they ever were. If only Ashton could be more honest about the lamentable reality.
But what can we expect from the EU? It took the EU 30 years of bloody terror activity and 100,000 massacred Syrians to label Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organization.
Europe is also one of the greatest incubators for Islamist organizations, many of whom fund terror while posing as charities. It also allocates taxpayer money to organizations that regularly employ demonizing rhetoric, campaign for anti-Israel boycott efforts (BDS) and engage in so-called lawfare activities.
From appeasement to apologetics, the EU’s relationship to jihadism is complex at best, and complacent at worst.
Perhaps it’s time for Ashton to take a step back, to admit that one of the greatest paradoxes of our era is that while terrorism threatens Europe, many Europeans choose to direct their anger toward Israel rather than name the enemy. Europe’s blind eye toward Hamas only reinforces those inclined to terror.
And maybe it’s time to cut the diplomatic umbilical chord. To see the new unity government for what it is: the Palestinians’ latest femme fatale who, like her great predecessor Yasser Arafat, has been granted immunity, diplomatic recognition and billions of dollars to transform territory into an armed camp, and civilians into terrorists.
Ms. Ashton, we know you don’t always keep silent. You didn’t keep silent in April when you used 99 words to criticize Israel’s settlement activity, while devoting only 26 to condemning the pre-Passover murder of Baruch Mizrahi that same week.
You didn’t keep silent when the IDF decided to reclassify 247 acres of survey land in Gush Etzion as state land.
You didn’t keep silent when the Defense Ministry allowed Jewish families to move into a four-story apartment building in Hebron – which they had purchased.
You were quick to express concern in 2013 when Israel planned to build in Beit El, citing that it undermined peace efforts, a claim which you’ve made like a broken record since your appointment.
Ms. Ashton, it is perfectly legitimate to criticize Israel’s foreign policy, even amid scurrilous and twisted accusations by its neighbors. Yet is it too much to ask for elementary compassion? We know that Europe is curiously cautious when it comes calling out terrorism.
But this one isn’t about permits, or treaties, or land. It’s about three mothers waiting for their boys to come home.
And that’s something for a chief of foreign policy to make a whole lot of noise about.