U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has created a peace plan for the Israel-Palestine conflict, and they have dubbed it the "Deal of the Century."
Trump visited Israel to unveil the plan, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must have been delighted to see that Trump's idea for peace for Palestinians is strikingly similar to his own. As a matter of fact, the deal is a remake of the centuries-old ethnic cleansing of Native Americans. Carefully choosing the worst lands on the West Bank of Jordan to form Palestinian "reservations," the plan gives the sovereignty of the Jordan Valley to Israel. The Israeli frontiers are consistently expanding and the totality of Jerusalem falls within Israeli jurisdiction; for the Palestinian side, tunnels will be constructed between Gaza and the scattered Palestinian "reservations."
Some money has been promised to the Palestinians as an investment, but in no case will a statehood be recognized unless they get rid of their weapons and distance themselves from groups that the U.S. and Israel consider terrorist organizations. Even then, a "two-state solution" is not contractual.
The plan was so bluntly one-sided and deeply unjust that it took some time for the other states to understand that it is not a joke. But this time, the European Union has adopted a firm and unanimous position. Usually, when it comes to relations with the U.S., EU member countries tend to diverge and these kinds of reactions are best called "every man for himself."
This time though, with the newly nominated president of the European Council, Charles Michel, a former Belgian prime minister, the EU has prepared a joint reaction with a very blunt position. Michel is directly reaching out to the governments of the 27 EU states rather than asking the representative ambassadors of the member states in Brussels. While Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner was lobbying for the support for the U.S. "peace plan," Michel, along with Josep Borrell, a very seasoned Spanish politician replacing Federica Mogherini as the high representative of the European Union, prepared another plan asking the very pro-U.S. governments of central Europe to give him time to forge out a common declaration. He succeeded in buying enough time to establish a common position among member states, even succeeding in getting approval on the part of Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The common declaration of the EU starts with a diplomatic formula, praising the action enlivening a dormant, moribund peace process. Then comes the condemnation: "The European Union will study and assess the proposals put forward. This will be done on the basis of the EU's established position and its firm and united commitment to a negotiated and viable two-state solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinians and the Israelis, respecting all relevant U.N. resolutions and internationally agreed on parameters. The EU has reaffirmed its readiness to work toward the resumption of meaningful negotiations to resolve all permanent status issues and to achieve a just and lasting peace. It urges both sides to demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution as the only realistic way to end the conflict."
Translated into laymen's terms, the EU rejects all proposals not offering a viable two-state solution to accommodate the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians. Seldom has the EU taken such a staunch and undivided stance vis-a-vis the U.S. In a way, this is perhaps due to Brexit, which probably created a sense of increased solidarity among the remaining 27 member states. But the main reason has to be the incredibly blunt, one-sided policies of the Trump administration. All U.S. administrations have been capable of dividing European states on different issues. It is worth remembering the situation during the Iraq War, waged by then-U.S. President George W. Bush's neo-con administration; Germany and France were absolutely against it, whereas the U.K., Spain, Poland and Portugal offered their support for the U.S. move. Donald Rumsfeld, then U.S. state secretary, called the reticent EU countries "old Europe," denouncing their "decaying" policies. At least this time, the EU countries have come to understand how hazardous it is to follow the U.S. administration's external policy moves.
This is also why Turkey should do its utmost to try to get closer to the EU. In view of the coming challenges, this move is gaining vital importance.
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