Europe, Palestine, and Peace – Daniel Schwammenthal
Israeli Prime Minister Olmert wasn’t greeted with church bells and parades when he came last week to sell Europe on his plan. He got the cold shoulder. Now why would Europe have second thoughts? The phrase ‘pre-1967 borders’ gives some clues to European resistance. In fact, there never were either pre- or post-1967 borders – only armistice lines following the Arab attempt in 1948 to extinguish newly-created Israel.
At the end of that war, the West Bank and Gaza did not become part of a Palestinian state but were occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively. Israel conquered these territories only in 1967, which is why it prefers to speak of ‘disputed’ and not ‘occupied’ land. In a legal sense occupation requires that the territory in question was the recognized part of a sovereign state before its conquest.
By getting this history wrong, the EU implies that the complete withdrawal to the 1967 lines would return the region to some previous state of order. Acknowledging that there never were any borders to begin with would make the insistence on the complete withdrawal to arbitrary battle lines appear less than objective.
The author is an editorial writer at the Wall Street Journal Europe. (Wall Street Journal, 23Jun06)
Keyword(s): Irrefutable facts