[Opinion] Can Europe's Leaders Halt the Obsession with Attacking Israel?
Much of the Middle East is burning, but official Europe remains fixated on Israel. In Brussels, Stockholm, the Hague, Copenhagen, and London, the mythologies of the 1970s remain unchallenged, perhaps because dealing with the real threats to Europe from the chaotic Middle East reality – ISIS, Syria, desperate refugees, Iran, etc. – is overwhelming. So instead of focusing on critical issues, European Union officials are preparing to escalate their war on Israel through laws requiring the labeling of products produced in the non-existent “Palestinian Occupied Territories.”
This obsession is advanced by the activities of senior European officials, such as John Gatt-Rutter, who is finishing a four year term as the European Union’s Ambassador to the West Bank, Gaza, and UNRWA …During his tenure, Gatt-Rutter reinforced the prevailing European mythologies while funds for anti-peace and anti-Israel NGOs continued to flow.
In his parting shot, Gatt-Rutter launches his own threats against Israel. He calls for “taking further measures to strengthen respect for international law,” meaning expanded lawfare cases, which are largely funded by the EU through NGO allies. His call for expanded economic warfare (also promoted by NGOs) is expressed as “ensuring compliance with legislation covering preferential treatment in the area of trade; restrictions on the use of funding for the benefit of settlements; advice to businesses and investors working in settlements; and settlement product labeling.”
Indeed, the most important conclusion based on Gatt-Rutter term as the EU’s representative to the Palestinians is the need for a new approach. In appointing Gatt-Rutter’s successor, Frederica Mogherini – the EU’s current foreign policy czar – has an opportunity to move away from the myths, paternalism, and obsessive confrontations with Israel, and to launch a positive approach.