Somewhere on A1A...

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

I see Tal G has mentioned this interview with Harry Kney-Tal, Israel's ambassador to the European Community too. It's a fascinating view of relations with the EU, with insights into the EUs viewpoint that we should all try to understand.

The Europeans, says Kney-Tal, after having reached a rational decision in favor of reconciliation, and having lived for six decades under peace and economic prosperity, have a problem in grasping Israel's difficult plight. "After the Second World War, Europe decided to abandon the use of force as a means to resolve disputes, and to set up the European Union, which operates on the basis of shared interests.... What drives them [the Europeans] crazy is states in the world like the U.S. and Israel, which don't recognize purely rational-legal rules of the game, and which believe that there are situations which require them to exercise their right of self-defense by resorting to the use of massive military force. The Europeans don't believe in a zero-sum game; instead, they try to cultivate interests shared by all the sides, while trying to create the widest possible common denominator."

After two devastating world wars, Kney-Tal says, Europe doesn't want to believe that there are situations in which arrangements can't be forged by negotiations. It has succumbed to cognitive dissonance: were the Europeans to indicate agreement with the claim that the Palestinian Authority uses incitement, and that such incitement leads to irrational actions such as suicide attacks, such agreement would contradict the manner in which the situation has been analyzed up to now, and the way they have wanted to view matters.

"They simply cannot accept this turn of logic - incitement leads to suicide attacks. Such acceptance would entail rejection of the creature they've created, the Palestinian Authority, an entity established largely through European assistance and funding," Kney-Tal says.

The European Union is proud that it enabled the Palestinian Authority to survive in recent years, in a period when Israel enforced severe economic sanctions against it.Go read the whole article.


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