MOSCOW, November 2 (RIA Novosti) — Numerous European countries and leaders have been critical of Israel’s policy towards Palestine, expressing concern over humanitarian cost of Israel’s summer military campaign against Hamas in Gaza and the Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank.
In August, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius referred to Israel’s actions in Gaza as “carnage” condemning “killing of children and slaughter of civilians”, according to BBC.
“While recognizing Israel's legitimate right to defend itself against any attacks, the EU underlines that the Israeli military operation must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law,” the EU Council said in a statement issued July 22. “The EU is particularly appalled by the human cost of the Israeli military operation in Shuja’iyya, and is deeply concerned at the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation,” the EU Council stressed.
Operation Protective Edge, launched in July, left over 2,100 people dead and up to 500,000 displaced, according to the UN estimates. Regional infrastructure has been badly damaged, 17,000 homes were destroyed in Israeli bombings, the Jerusalem Post reported. The Palestinian Authority put the overall cost of rebuilding Gaza at 7.8 billion, according to the newspaper.
This week, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, announced plans to build over 1,000 homes in East Jerusalem. The international community considers Israel’s initiative illegal under the international law. In July several European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, advised their citizens against engaging in financial activity and investing in the settlements.
“We prefer to be disliked by our European partners rather than be liked by them after another Auschwitz. This will probably be the answer of Israel to the European community,” Avigdor Eskin, journalist and political analyst, asserted, stressing that some might call Europe’s foreign policy questionable. “We saw them in Ukraine supporting the Nazis. These are the last people who will teach us any moral lessons.”
Not surprisingly, Eskin criticized Sweden’s decision to recognize Palestine. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom believes the move will help to achieve a two-state solution to the bitter decades-long conflict. “We have decided to do so on the basis of the fact that the criteria of international law are fulfilled. There is a territory, a people and a government,” Wallstrom told reporters. “Not to recognize Palestine because of occupation would be against the principle of international law about no fruits of aggression,” she added.
Eskin, however, is convinced that instead of solving the problem it will only aggravate the situation. He stressed that terrorist activity will intensify as a result of Sweden’s decision. “The outcome will be exactly the opposite of what Sweden expects,” the journalist told Radio VR. “Hamas and other terrorist organizations view [Sweden’s recognition of Palestine] as a kind of encouragement, a gift, an award for their activities. Instead of condemning terrorism, instead of supporting anti-terrorist efforts by Israel or by Russia, the West is trying to create more and more turbulence in different place [around the world],” Eskin contended.
The analyst also said that relations between the US and Israel, considered strategic allies, are deteriorating. “The United States administration feels they need more Arab countries than Israel at this point. Their real allies today are Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” he stated, adding that the Obama administration views Israel as “a burden for them in the Middle East.”