Thursday 19 June 2008

The dangerous naivety of the well-intentioned, by Melanie Phillips

Melanie Phillips finds at last encouraging signs among Europeans, but also a worrying disposition to minimise the existential threats facing Israel:

"The conference in Berlin which I’ve been attending, organised by the Weidenfeld Foundation and the Axel Springer corporation, was about relations between the EU and Israel. It was simultaneously encouraging — touching, even - and dismaying. Encouraging because here was a Europe which – in the form of the German and Czech foreign and interior ministers at least, along with sundry diplomats and business people - had stopped hectoring Israel for its crimes and instead was pledging never to abandon it to its enemies; and it was touching to see the painful awareness of the Germans of their duty to ensure that their own history should never again be repeated elsewhere in the world. (Indeed, on the very day of this meeting the EU-Israel Association Council – the body headed by foreign ministers which conducts the bilateral relations between Israel and European Union member states – announced an upgrade in relations between Israel and the EU.) What a difference from poisonous Britannia. The reason for the change in the European attitude is said to be twofold. First, and most important, the perspective of Europe’s elite has changed under the pressure of its own crisis of Islamist colonisation. As a result, it looks upon Israel, the front line of defence against this attack, in a new and more sympathetic light. Second, it approves of Israel’s apparent determination to hammer out a ‘two-state solution’ with the Palestinians.

But here was the rub. Speaker after speaker extolled Israel’s negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas and spoke of the 'sparks of hope' from such talks that must not be extinguished. But this hope was based on a high level of wishful thinking, not to say historical amnesia. For the two-state solution can hardly be a solution, given that two-states was the original compromise proposition put forward in the 1930s to appease Arab rejectionism of the proposed restored Jewish state – which is still rejected to this day, not just by Hamas but by the ‘moderate’ Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Abbas. Only recently he declared that the Palestinians would never accept Israel as a Jewish state; and yet he is being feted by Israel, America and Europe as a genuine interlocutor for peace. Moreover, as I have noted before, a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza would mean that Iran was at the doorstep of Jordan and Egypt – a fact that causes the ‘two-state solution’ to fill them with undiluted horror. Far from providing ‘sparks of hope’ therefore, the ‘two-state solution’ would more likely spark a conflagration with an Iran whose quest for regional domination poses such a threat to the wider world."

Read the full article.

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