Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused European governments of ignoring another Holocaust Tuesday night. His bizarre claim is evidently an effort to buttress Israeli plans to withhold over $400 million in tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority.
Echoing comments made earlier in the day on Israel Radio comparing the actions of some European governments now to actions during the Holocaust, Lieberman said that the Jews have seen in the past how certain European nations turned their eyes from the evidence and pretended not to see when Jews were threatened with destruction and sent to concentration camps. In the Israel Radio interview, he compared the EU’s polices now to the polices of European countries in the 1930s and 1940s.
“I am not happy with Europe’s position that for another time in history it ignores calls to destroy Israel,” he said. “Hamas leaders said repeatedly that their goal is clear – to destroy the State of Israel. And Europe is quiet. The EU’s call yesterday was not condemnation of Hamas’s statements, but a call for Hamas heads to refrain from inflammatory statements. We already went through that with Europe at the end of the 1930s and in the 1940s.”
Just what are the Europeans doing? Israel’s actions have led to sharp criticism from European ministers. After Israel announced it planned to colonize the E-1 area on the West Bank, as retaliation for Palestine’s UN upgrade, EU foreign ministers warned Israel to avoid “undermining the financial situation” of the PA and hinted at enforcement measures. At that time the ministers issued a statement indicating future agreements “between the EU and Israel will explicitly say that they do not extend to areas beyond the Green Line.”
That statement also said that the EU would work to ensure that all agreements between Israel and the EU “must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the West Bank including east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”
According to diplomatic officials, this means that future agreements between the EU and Israel will explicitly say that they do not extend to areas beyond the Green Line.
And Israel is now carrying out its retribution against the Palestinians, just as it threatened to do— so none of this should come as a shock to any of us.
Lieberman’s smash-mouth accusations and the Israeli reprisals against the Palestinians may actually prove to be benefits of the Palestinian upgrade at the U.N.; these extreme actions will force the global community to respond. Nadia Hijab, director of Al-Shabaka The Palestinian Policy Network, made just this point in a recent piece in Al Jazeera:
The biggest ray of sunshine on the horizon is the virulent opposition to the UN bid by the Israeli and American governments. In fact, they have been boxed in. If Israel cuts aid to the PA, it will have to manage its own occupation. If the US cuts aid to the PA, it will lose its clout over the Palestinian agenda.
Furthermore, the PLO/PA’s apparent interest in reviving itself provides opportunities for Palestinian civil society and its allies to hold the leadership accountable for Palestinian rights. But first, it would be good to read that document, to know just what to hold it accountable for.