Europe seeks to play the role of neutral mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Yet for a host of reasons – most of them self-serving – Europe has demonstrated a clear pro-Arab bias, including insensitivity to Israel’s security needs. And it excuses Arab terrorism that no civilized nation would ever tolerate if faced with similar attacks.
The European nation-state model was ill suited to the structure of social organization indigenous to the Middle East where clans, tribes, ethnic groups, Islamic sects, and regional loyalties dominate social units. Much of the conflict in Arab states today reflects that reality, while anti-Zionism has become the glue that holds them together.
Against this backdrop, members of the EU want another chance to remold the Middle East, including a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, which the British were unable to resolve during 30 years of British Mandate rule. Even during that period, Great Britain’s track record was poor, conjuring up a series of so-called peace plans that attempted to appease the Arabs so that they would accept the Jews. Today, the EU aims to solve the conflict at Israel’s expense for a host of self-serving reasons.
Europe’s claim that it can be an even-handed mediator does not hold water. Besides a poor record in solving problems as colonial powers, member states of the EU would make poor facilitators in the Middle East for several reasons, including their dependence on Arab trade and Arab oil.
Centuries of European antisemitism culminated in the Holocaust, made possible not only by the rise of Nazism in Germany, but by the acts of other European countries as well – acts of commission and omission. Two years after World War II, European nations supported the UN plan calling for a Jewish state, support that reflected both a sense of guilt toward the Jews, and national interests. Although every Arab state rejected Israel’s right to exist, Western Europe forged diplomatic and economic relations with Israel. Britain and France even established strategic relations with Israel in the early 1950s when Britain sought to regain control over the Suez Canal from Egypt.
The Jerusalem Post criticized Europe’s unbridled support for the Palestinians, while ignoring their terror campaign. Perhaps the culmination was in 2002 when French president Jacques Chirac invited the head of Hezbollah to a summit of French-speaking nations as an honored guest. Moreover, Israelis cannot forgive the indifference most Europeans have demonstrated toward Israeli casualties, as respected European intellectuals justify suicide bombings as testimony to Israeli oppression and guilt.
Europe’s support for the Arabs today, based on the mistaken assumption one can buy immunity from Arab terror and ensure the flow of oil, is about as viable as Europe’s sell-out of Czechoslovakia in 1938 for “peace in our times.” In the meantime, by not setting limits, Europe’s shortsighted policy encourages extremism. Continued support of the Palestinians, despite the terrorism, prolongs violence and loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives.