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Photo: Shaul Golan
'Netanyahu keeps bringing up the memory of the Holocaust, but the Europeans are not intimidated'
Photo: Shaul Golan
Shimon Shiffer

Netanyahu pulls out doomsday weapon again

Op-ed: Prime minister is failing to understand that the Europeans' sense of urgency is not about what happened in the continent 60 years ago, but about what is happening in the territories right now.

After the decision to call early Knesset elections was announced, European diplomats in Israel issued a recommendation to their supervisors to watch what they say about the Israeli prime minister.

 

 

The reason for their warning was clear. "Public criticism will only help Benjamin Netanyahu," they wrote. "The prime minister will respond firmly in an attempt to prove to his voters that he is the only one protecting Israel's vital interests against the world."

 

The series of decisions made Wednesday around the continent, reflecting many Europeans' support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, prove that the European Union is not intimidated by Israeli politicians' threats.

 

And surely enough, Netanyahu responded as expected and pulled out his doomsday weapon: The Holocaust, and mainly the European responsibility for the murder of the Jewish people.

 

But with the Europeans at least, it's no longer working. "It's not the Holocaust," a European diplomat explained. "We will no longer tolerate the ongoing status quo and the fact that Israel is not holding negotiations with the Palestinians on the establishment of a state and the end of the occupation."

 

EU flags. 'The Europeans are expecting to see real moves from the Israeli side, especially in terms of the policy in Gaza'  (Photo: AFP)
EU flags. 'The Europeans are expecting to see real moves from the Israeli side, especially in terms of the policy in Gaza'

 

Netanyahu's attempt to distinguish between Europe and the United States, as if the former were the bad guys and the latter were the good guys, is based on the wrong assumption: The American administration is the one encouraging the Europeans to target Israel on the diplomatic front. So the prime minister should avoid a policy which takes the American support for granted.

 

The truth is that all the talks about how Obama's defeat in the midterm elections would help Israel were shaky. It's enough to look at the dramatic developments of the past day in Europe to know that Obama is still in control.

 

The historic breakthrough in US-Cuba relations, the Russian economic crisis on the backdrop of US-led sanctions against Putin, and the nuclear talks with the Ayatollah regime with Iran, can be seen as decisive proof of the American president's power – the same president Netanyahu's associates enjoy mocking so much.

 

The lesson from the recent events is clear: Israel must advance an initiative for an agreement with the Palestinians – as the international community will no longer let it sustain a policy which ignores the growing frustration of an increasing number of people around the world. The Islamic terror threats can no longer serve as an alternative for a policy of impotence either.

 

Our anger at the Europeans, who are on the verge of recognizing Hamas, is justified. But the Europeans are also expecting to see real moves from the Israeli side, especially in terms of the policy in Gaza.

 

Netanyahu brought up the memory of the Holocaust on Wednesday in order to condemn the European decisions. But he is still failing to understand that the Europeans' sense of urgency is not about what happened in Europe 60 years ago, but about what is happening in the territories right now.

 


פרסום ראשון: 12.19.14, 00:41
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