By Justin Theriault
To view original article, published by the IMEMC on the 9th December, click here
BRUSSELS, December 9, 2008 – Despite the scathing remarks by European Parliament (EP) Vice-President last week, in regards to Israel’s human rights abuses and incessant disregard for International law and Geneva Conventions, today, the EP’s 27 foreign ministers voted unanimously to upgrade EU foreign relations with Israel.
Last week, after being denied a vote altogether by EP Vice-President, Luisa Morgantini, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tzipi Livni, decided to do some more lobbying with the EP’s foreign ministers, but in particular Bernard Kouchner of France, who currently sits as the EU’s rotating president.
“At one point, she asked everyone else in the room to leave so that she could speak with Kouchner privately. During that conversation, the two agreed that there would be no linkage, but the EU would issue a separate statement stressing the need to continue the final-status talks.” It seems obvious, although difficult to actually find a formal report on the powers of EU President, that Kouchner overrode Morgantini’s earlier decision to hold Israel accountable to international law before a vote would take place in order to “upgrade” EU-Israeli relations.
“The two also agreed that the EU would not officially adopt the action plan for the peace process, which France had formulated, but would instead leave it as a mere proposal. The plan, first reported in Haaretz last week, stated that the EU would, inter alia, press Israel to reopen Orient House, the PA’s former headquarters in East Jerusalem.” Not only is Israel not accountable for it’s severe breaches of international law, it can now table the earlier peace process, formulated by France, as simply a mere proposal.
The burning question here is:
What exactly did Livni and Kouchner discuss in their private meeting?
Last week Morgantini declared, after suspending the vote to upgrade EU-Israeli relations, that:
“Finally this vote is positive for us Europeans, who are showing to ourselves and to the entire world that respect for human rights and the achievement of justice are not an abstract declaration of principles.”
In light of Kouchner’s reversal of Morgantini’s decision, and the unanimous vote by all 27 foreign ministers of the EP, the European Union is now sending a slightly different message: That the rule of law and the application of justice, when applied to Israel, is indeed an “abstract declaration of principles”. They are sending a clear message that Israel can effectively continue to terrorize Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with impunity, while enjoying”upgraded” relations with the EU.
This decision will, most likely, result in outrage across the Arab World.