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Federica Mogherini: Her statements are symptomatic of Europe's double standards (photo: CTBTO Photostream)

Both the European Union and the Obama administration insist that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict needs urgent solution through the establishment of a Palestinian state. Both paint a bleak future for Israel unless the territories Israel conquered in 1967 are turned over to the Palestinian Authority before long.

Judging by the flurry of diplomatic activity by the PA, which is attempting to get a state of Palestine recognised both at the UN and across Europe, one would conclude that its birth is imminent and that, either by consent or by force, Israel will have to relinquish those territories.

As if to underscore its sense of urgency with the matter and its impatience with Israel, the newly-elected, left-leaning government government of Sweden recognised Palestine as a state in October. The French and Spanish national assemblies both held a symbolic vote to affirm the same. So did the "mother of Parliaments" in Westminster.

Last month, the new European Union High Representative for foreign policy, Federica Mogherini, took her maiden official journey abroad to Jerusalem and opined that "Jerusalem can and should be the capital of two states". She also warned, darkly, that the world would not tolerate a "fourth Gaza war".

The Arab-Israeli dispute has always elicited such feelings in Europe — not just a tendency to lean toward the Palestinian narrative on the conflict, but also a sense that time is running out and, unless a solution is reached soon, doom will ensue.

Yet Mogherini's words contain a contradiction which is symptomatic of Europe's double standards against Israel. This is obvious on three counts.

First, much of the "occupied territories" are no longer occupied — yet Israel's withdrawal from Gaza has been met with hostility and belligerence, not peace overtures.

Second, the refusal of much of the international community to let Israel finish off Hamas, which the EU officially considers to be a terrorist organisation, means both that no peace is currently possible and that there will be another war in Gaza at some point.

And third, Europe's approach to Israel is unique, given that in the case of other "occupied territories" Europe has been much less driven by the same adolescent utopianism, and more by a mixture of cynical realpolitik, a recognition of its own limits, and an appreciation that conflict management is often a better stopgap measure.

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January 3rd, 2015
4:01 AM
Get your facts straight about Nagorno Karabakh. It was never an Azerbaijani land, in fact it was "snatched" like you said , but from Armenia against the will of people who lived there and was given to Azerbaijan by the worst enemy of humanity by Stalin.

One stronly doubts your judgement
January 2nd, 2015
4:01 PM
Mr. Emanuele Ottolenghi,Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies in Washington and the author of five books, in English and Italian, four of which concern Iran. Considering that what you wrote here about Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia is a complete misrepresentation at a minimum, but simply speaking a lie, one should doubt the rest of your so called analysis. Unfortunately in our day and time, it is not the merit and decency that often places people in a senior position.

Russell Pollard
January 2nd, 2015
7:01 AM
You suggest that Armenia “snatched” NK away from Azerbaijan. The reality is that the citizens of NK (80% Armenian) voted to secede from Azerbaijan in a free and fair vote in February 1988. This was met by animosity and violence from Azerbaijan. Ordinary citizens of NK took up arms to defend themselves and their families. Full scale war broke out 3 years, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the declaration of NK’s independence. Azerbaijan started an unrelenting campaign of bombing the Armenian people of NK. As the tide turned, in 1993/4 the NK Army re-captured their lost land and secured a buffer zone. This was not a “snatch” offensive but a long, defensive, and bloody operation made worse by the aggressive tactics of Azerbaijan. Many Armenians whose families had lived in NK for centuries were killed during that war. You also, somewhat witheringly, describe NK as a “phantom republic”. If you ever have the opportunity to visit, then you will realise that this is far from the truth. It has all of the infrastructure of an independent state ( Government, Telecoms, Army, Universities, Banks, Industry, Tourism etc) is a safe place to live, and has a vibrant and youthful population; 40% of the country were born since the ceasefire in 1994. It’s unrecognized status, and the constant threat of aggression from Azerbaijan are the major factors impeding its growth, and the peaceful freedom of its people. The refugee problem you mention is pertinent to both sides. Azerbaijan would not have so much of a problem, after 20 years, if its Government gave the people who were displaced, a free choice over their future rather than using them as pawns in an ongoing political game. The vast majority of the people who live in NK were born there, and whose families have always lived there , or were refugees from Azerbaijan in the early 90s. I would have thought that someone like yourself, from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, would have been more sympathetic to the plight of people whose only wish is for their democratic right to be heard and respected.

I Dare to speak out
December 4th, 2014
7:12 PM
In all of the examples the author cites the indigenous population of the region supports the supposed occupying forces. Only in Palestine is an alien people forcibly occupying and ethnically cleansing the indigenous people, subjugating them on the basis of an odious ideology of racial supremacy. Worse than the Nazis.

December 2nd, 2014
6:12 PM
The absolute truth is Israel could do with being a bit bigger. Julie Burchill`s concise (if half-joking) conclusion is proof of our islamo-bent world leaders preference for the little swinging dicks of islamo- capitalism. No more mosques . Islam means slums and war.

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