E.U. to impose sanctions on Israel
Should the E.U. impose economic sanctions on Israel? Would that have a beneficial influence on the peace process in the Middle East?
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Israel is a de facto apartheid state. Its treatment of Israeli residents and Palestinians in the occ...
Israel is a de facto apartheid state. Its treatment of Israeli residents and Palestinians in the occupied territories – including separate roads and inequality in the provision of infrastructure, legal rights, and access to land and resources - is reminiscent of South Africa’s treatment of its black citizens, prior to 1994. International censure and sanctions resulted in South Africa putting an end to the Apartheid regime. The same should be done in the case of Israel.
Israel is the only viable democracy in the Middle east and all its citizens, Arab or Jewish, enjoy social and political equality enshrined in Israeli law, regardless of their race, creed or sex. It cannot extend citizenship to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, as that would destroy the character of the state of Israel – with Jews becoming a minority. It would thus compromise its historic purpose as a home for Jewish people everywhere, to where they can flee from persecution as minorities in other states. For all these reasons, Israel deserves more international support, not criticism and sanctions.
Apartheid is a crime under international law. The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, one of the ...
Apartheid is a crime under international law. The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, one of the longest in history, is also illegal, as is the West Bank barrier, which quite literally fences Palestinians out of Israel and is built largely on occupied land. If international law is to have any authority at all and not merely be a vacuous system crushed by political considerations, it ought to give rise to a positive obligation on behalf of states to enforce it. As condemnation and diplomacy have consistently failed, economic sanctions are the logical next step.
In international law, the crime of apartheid is defined as the systematic oppression of one race by another. In the case of Israel, the reasons behind the regime of separation are almost exclusively based on security concerns. Since it was built, the West Bank barrier has led to a substantial decrease in terrorist attacks within Israel. While states ought to enforce international law in the case of crimes against humanity, like apartheid, there are plenty of other states in the world who systematically repress their citizens and committing egregious human rights violations against their minorities. The E.U. seems largely unconcerned with these other transgressors. Choosing to sanction Israel appears anti-Semitic and does very little for international law – if different states are treated differently for the same alleged crime, that is also politics - it is not law.
The E.U. is in the best position to impose such sanctions. The U.S. government has strong historic ...
The E.U. is in the best position to impose such sanctions. The U.S. government has strong historic ties of support for Israel, with organisations like AIPAC lobbying Congress and the President directly in matters of foreign policy. The Department of Defense gives Israel in excess of two billion dollars annually in military aid. The Palestinian cause is staggeringly under-represented in both the U.S. media and across the political spectrum. Therefore the U.S. is highly unlikely to take a fair and balanced stance in the matter.
The E.U. is comprised of 27 states with their own governments and foreign policy objectives that would be impossible to harmonise. It only has a rudimentary foreign policy system, with the role of the E.U. Foreign Minister / High Representative largely symbolic. To think that countries like Germany or Poland and Belgium or France would have the same approach to the issue is naïve. Also, sanctions adopted by all would place a high economic burden on just a few members, like the U.K. and Ireland, who actually trade with Israel.
Sanctions would provide Israel with an incentive to cooperate towards finding a peaceful end to the ...
Sanctions would provide Israel with an incentive to cooperate towards finding a peaceful end to the occupation and the humanitarian concerns it has led to. Currently, Israel is largely confrontational, defiant of international requests to stop illegal settlement activities in the West Bank and generally reluctant to move towards the establishment of a Palestinian state and pulling out of Gaza and the West Bank.
Israel is not the only party to blame for the stalemate. While it may be unapologetic in its treatment of Palestinians, Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel targeting and killing innocent Israeli civilians. How can Israel be expected to sit at the negotiating table while being under attack? Why doesn’t the EU do more to address Palestinian terrorism and to support its Israeli victims?
Economic sanctions work, just as they did in the case of South Africa. Israel’s proximity to Europe...
Economic sanctions work, just as they did in the case of South Africa. Israel’s proximity to Europe makes the E.U. a valuable trading partner. The EU is Israel's largest trading partner, accounting for 27% of Israeli exports and 43% of Israeli imports. Israel and the E.U. have free trade agreements in place. The Israeli economy is particularly susceptible to sanctions at it is heavily reliant on trade. With very few natural resources of its own, Israel relies on imports of crude oil, grains, raw materials, and some military hardware. It also has a developed industrial sector, exporting large quantities of high-tech hardware and software, biotech and military systems.
Trade is a two-way relationship. Sanctions would hurt European countries and Israel in equal measure. Germany, for example is also heavily reliant on trade, as the world’s largest exporter. Sanctions only worked in the case of South Africa because virtually every economically developed country agreed to cooperate, including the U.S.A. If the E.U. alone imposes sanctions, Israel will divert its trade towards other partners – the U.S. being the largest one of them. As for the argument of proximity – Israel has been economically boycotted by its Arab neighbours for decades, with very little impact on its economy.
E.U. countries such as Germany, France, the U.K. and the Netherlands to name a few, have large Musli...
E.U. countries such as Germany, France, the U.K. and the Netherlands to name a few, have large Muslim minority populations. The E.U. is also in the process of opening the accession process for Turkey, which would be the first predominantly Muslim country to join. It needs to show itself to be more sensitive towards and interested in Muslim issues around the world
These countries would first need to take significant measures at home to improve relations with these minorities. A hard stance on Israel is only a tangential concern concerning the amount of tension some of these countries experience with regards to Muslim residents. Also, with Europe having already been hit by attacks from Muslim terrorists in “the war on terror”, Israel is the West’s strongest, most reliable ally in the Middle East, with excellent information gathering capabilities. Alienating it would be a mistake from a security perspective.
What do you think?