Europe Can Play a Vital Role in Mideast Peace

The United States is now the only barrier between Israel and international isolation - which borders on strategic danger.

After Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon sat the Turkish ambassador down on a low chair, it was the turn of the minister, Avigdor Lieberman, to put Europe in its place.

Last week four European members of the UN Security Council condemned the settlement policy, violence against Palestinians and damage to mosques; Israel's Foreign Ministry responded by rebuking Germany, France, Britain and Portugal, declaring them "irrelevant." It did not suffice with that; it also dictated a foreign-affairs agenda to the European Union: Focus on the events in Syria and Iran and leave the Israeli-Palestinian conflict alone.

Europe is obviously preparing anxiously for the next rebuke from Jerusalem, following the protest the EU lodged last week with the Foreign Ministry over the evacuation of Bedouin and the destruction of Palestinian homes in the E1 area between Ma'aleh Adumim and East Jerusalem. We can assume that Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa, which also expressed their displeasure with the settlement policy, Jewish terror and the diplomatic impasse, have been sent to seek foreign-affairs relevance in other quarters.

The condemnation of the three most important countries in Europe, which Israel is wooing in its struggle to stop the Iranian nuclear program, halt the Palestinian-state initiative in the United Nations and upgrade agreements with the EU, represents a suicidal foreign policy.

The peace process has put negotiations on a final-status agreement at the top of the agenda and has become an anchor in fostering relations with the international community. With Israel lacking initiative, diplomatic efforts to end the conflict are replaced by sweeping criticism of the occupation's injustices. The United States is now the only barrier between Israel and international isolation - which borders on strategic danger.

Still, there is more than a sliver of truth in the claim that the EU is irrelevant in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As far back as the Venice Declaration in June 1980, nine members of the European Community announced that a solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict was "more necessary and pressing than ever before." They pledged to play a "special role" and to "work in a more concrete way" to end the Israeli occupation in the territories.

Hopefully the Israeli government's bizarre behavior will spur Israel's friends in Europe to fulfill this important obligation and be truly relevant.

Read this article in Hebrew