THE ARAB LOBBY: THE EUROPEAN COMPONENT
By Dr. Steven J. Rosen
However, attempts to mobilize Americans of Arab origin in a crusade against Israel have been limited by the fact that this agenda is not a critical interest for the majority. About two thirds of Arab-Americans (63 percent) derive from Christian minorities in the Middle East, who have suffered at the hands of extremist Arab-nationalist and Muslim groups in their home countries. More than half of all Arab-Americans are Lebanese and Syrian Christians, who know the damage done to Lebanon by Syrian Baathists, Palestinian terrorists, and the Shiite Hezbollah.  A third of all Arab-Americans are Maronite Christians and are more faithfully represented by organizations such as the American-Lebanese League, devoted to saving Lebanon from Arab extremists, rather than organizations crusading against Israel or supporting the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Only a minority of Arab Americans, then and now, seeks to support organizations whose sole or main purpose is conducting political action against Israel; and some of those who are attracted to the anti-Israel agenda are so radical that such organizations do not want them.
The largest Arab-American group, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), attracts recruits by combating anti-Arab bias and stereotyping inside the United States, a cause understandably closer to the hearts of many mainstream Arab-American families than importing into the United States the struggle against Israel that brought so much misery in their countries of origin. The National Association of Arab-Americans, which focused on the Israel agenda, has ceased to exist altogether, since it merged into ADC in 2001.  Today, Arab-American organizations are a factor in the Middle East debate, but certainly have not risen to a level that can challenge the influence of the American friends of Israel.
Yet it is difficult to see significant evidence of the impact of the petrodollar lobby in the Arab-Israeli sphere or any major effort on their part to interfere in the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel. Oil firms, Arab embassies, and their lobbyists do have considerable influence in the sphere of energy policy, and on some Persian Gulf issues, including arms sales to Arab gulf states.  But their main focus is on the rich and comparatively moderate Arab countries, not Israel's less prosperous neighbors such as Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians.  And they have shown no signs of seeking to do battle against AIPAC and the friends of Israel. In fact, on a few select projects (notably Turkey policy and the Baku-Ceyhan Caspian pipeline), AIPAC and their interests have aligned and the two lobbies have in fact cooperated with each other. Even when they differed, as on Iran, it was a clash of interests about economic sanctions rather than an ideological dispute about Iran itself.
The Arabs consider Europe to be the soft underbelly of the U.S. alliance with Israel and the best way to drive a wedge between the two historic allies.
The Europeans are particularly formidable in their influence over U.S. Middle East policy because of four advantages. First, although there exist subtle differences, many European leaders share a broad set of common beliefs about Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab world, and the Middle East conflict that are considerably closer to the Arab perspective than to Jerusalem's point of view, and closer to the Arab end of the spectrum than the prevailing views of U.S. policymakers.
Second, they — especially representatives of Britain, Germany, and France — have easier and closer access to U.S. officials, up to and including the President, than do either the Arabs or the Israelis.
Third, the Europeans couch their presentations within a wider framework of shared values and interests and mutual trust with the United States, so the message is taken more seriously than if it came from an unelected leader of an Arab society vastly different from the United States.
Fourth, U.S. officials believe that it is in the national interest to keep the European allies happy, lest they change to an independent European policy toward the Middle East, falling under the sway of such Europeanists as former European Union Commissioner for External Affairs Christopher Patten. Thus, for example, Patten said in July, 2010:
The direct access to the U.S. President that is available to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the President of France, and the Chancellor of Germany has less to do with the personal chemistry that may exist between them and any given U.S. President than with the objective importance of their countries to the United States. Britain, France, and Germany are three of the top six economies in the world and three of the top six military powers, as ranked by defense expenditures.  Two of them — France and Britain — are among the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council who hold the power to veto. The same two are among the world's leading nuclear powers. Four European countries — France, Germany, Britain, and Italy — sit among the Group of Eight (G8), a forum also including the United States, Canada, Russia, and Japan. The British, French, and German governments have the greatest influence over the foreign policy of the European Union and the greatest influence over Europe's voice in the Middle East Quartet (which consists of the United States, the EU, Russia, and the U.N.).
The United States also has a longer and deeper history of shared values and common interests with the major European countries, and fewer conflicting interests, than with Russia, China, or any Arab nation. For sixty-five years, Britain, France, and Germany have been our key allies in the United States' principal military and political alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Their opinions are stated in a moderate tone and are deemed to be more reasonable than the majority of Arab countries. There is a presumption on both sides that they are America's principal partners, the ones whose interests Washington must always take into account, and who can be expected to give greater deference to America's own needs.
This presumption of shared interests also gives European counterparts privileged access and enhanced credibility with senior members of the U.S. bureaucracy at the National Security Council, the Department of State, the Pentagon, and within the intelligence community and other agencies. Assistant secretaries, office directors, and senior advisers give special weight to the opinions of their French, German, and British counterparts and spend more time with them than they do with the Arabs. These Europeans also have easy access to members of Congress and their senior staffs.
The Kuwait war had just ended in 1991, and President Bush announced on March 6 his intention to convene an international conference on peace in the Middle East.  At the same time, the Soviet Union was in its final stages of collapse, and Soviet Jews who had been prevented from emigrating were flooding out. More than 200,000 had already arrived in Israel, and a tidal wave of more than one million was expected to follow imminently. Israel faced grave challenges to absorb such an enormous influx, equal to 20 percent of its existing population. On May 5, 1991, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Zalman Shoval, announced that Israel would soon ask Washington for $10 billion in loan guarantees to help provide housing for one million Soviet immigrants expected to arrive during the next five years. 
The Palestinians feared that the new immigrants would settle in the disputed territories.  President Bush and his Secretary of State, James A. Baker, declared that, if any new loan guarantees were to be granted, they would have to be linked to a commitment by Israel not to use the money in the territories.  A mechanism would have to be found to ensure that the loan guarantees would not be used to support settlement activity, lest the international conference announced by the President be undermined.
To permit time to find a formula, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir agreed to delay Israel's official request for the loan guarantees for three months until September 6.  During the Summer of 1991, Secretary Baker made numerous trips to the region, looking for a way to avoid a collision between the loan guarantees and the peace process.  A few AIPAC colleagues and I were involved in some of the behind-the-scenes negotiations, conducted primarily by Elyakim Rubinstein, the Israeli government secretary, Secretary Baker and his staff, and Senator Robert Kasten, Jr., (Republican of Wisconsin) on behalf of pro-Israel members of Congress, and Ambassador Shoval.
By mid-August, we were relieved to learn, via communication with Baker and his staff, that a solution acceptable to Washington had been devised. The President had not yet approved it, but Baker was confident that he had a formula that would be acceptable to all sides. For AIPAC, this was a matter of paramount importance because it affected the fate of a million imperiled Jews, a historic effort to initiate a peace process, and the bilateral relationship between Israel and its most important ally.
George H. W. Bush was vacationing at his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, in late August, 1991, when British Prime Minister John Major and his wife Norma visited. It was the kind of informal quality time directly with the President, unmediated by aides and advisers, that makes European leaders so influential on issues like the Middle East. Major had just told the Egyptian press that Israeli settlements, including those in East Jerusalem, were "illegal" and "damaging" to the peace process, and he wanted Bush to stand up to Israel.  Baker was pressing the President to compromise, but the British leader urged him to take an absolute stand.
Bush returned from Kennebunkport with his mind changed, according to subsequent reports from U.S. officials. To Baker's surprise, the President rejected the package of assurances the Secretary had carefully assembled and decided to throw down the gauntlet to Israel and its supporters. On September 6, 1991, he asked Congress for a 120-day delay on the loan guarantees "to give peace a chance." 
Six days later, Bush went a step further. On September 12, more than 1,000 Jewish leaders from around the country descended on Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers for the loan guarantees. President Bush responded by calling a news conference the same day to warn that he would veto loan guarantees, if Congress insisted on approving them, despite his plea for a 120-day delay. He also criticized the pro-Israeli lobbyists, saying:
Asked what was the lowest point in the history of U.S.-Israel relations, many experts would pick this clash over the loan guarantees.  It was, at the very least, one of the most serious setbacks in the relationship. But the role of a British prime minister in undoing months of effort by the mediators and instigating the clash has never been exposed until now. It is an example of the way a key European can interact with the highest decision-maker in the United States and move him toward the Arab point of view and away from Israel.
There are many suppositions why Europeans tilt against Israel and toward the Arabs. For one thing, the Middle East is a place where Europeans can flaunt their foreign policy independence from the United States, without responsibility for causing catastrophic results, because they assume that the United States will protect Israel from any dire consequences such may produce. For another, Europe depends more heavily on trade with the Arab world and on Arab oil exports than does the United States.
For example, the Arab gulf states are a $300 billion import market for world products,  compared to Israel's $50 billion imports.  Europe may also have a desire to appease the "strong horse" in the region (e.g., Israel has but one vote in the United Nations General Assembly; the Arabs have twenty-five votes, the Muslim nations, fifty votes). Then there is the guilt among many Europeans over their discredited imperial past, leading them to falsely view Israelis as oppressing Third World peoples. Then, again, it may be the growing influence of Europe's own Muslim populations (e.g., Arabs in France, Turks in Germany, South Asians in Britain) and their need to keep such segments of their domestic populations as quiescent as possible. Some analysts suggest that there may also be an element of satisfaction at being free to censure Jews in Israel, relieving European guilt over responsibility for the Holocaust. Finally, it may be that the Europeans simply do not understand that Israel is a constitutional democracy at war, living in a mortally dangerous neighborhood, which must act in self-defense in ways that may seem excessive to onlookers in a benign environment, such as Twenty-First-Century Western Europe (even though the Western democracies and the United States have used harsher means than Israel in wars far removed from their own territory).
For example, in 2002, the Europeans hatched the idea of a "road map" with deadlines for the creation of a Palestinian state to force Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to a conclusion. On September 17, 2002, European officials presented a plan to Washington that they had drafted with Palestinian participation and endorsement.  Jerusalem strenuously objected to deadlines that ignored Palestinian noncompliance with past signed obligations, and U.S. officials expressed reservations about the European approach because the blueprint was too detailed at too early a stage.  But Secretary of State Colin Powell, nonetheless, joined the EU, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in signing the Quartet statement announcing "a concrete, three-phase implementation road map that could achieve a final settlement within three years."  German Foreign Ministry spokesman Andreas Michaelis said that the content of the Quartet pact was "nearly identical" to proposals put forward by EU Foreign Ministers.  EU Middle East Envoy Miguel Angel Moratinos said it was "a European idea and not an American idea."  It was a vehicle for European and U.S. pressure on Israel.
Washington was able to condition the road map deadlines, however, by insisting that the plan be "performance based." While the road map announced "clear phases, timelines, target dates, and benchmarks,"  the Bush administration forced the Quartet partners to agree that --
However, by 2010, the road map has still not produced a Palestinian state, and the Europeans are again growing impatient about the slow pace of negotiations. European leaders are beginning to revert to their original concept of deadlines and a date certain to force an earlier result. In July, 2009, Europe's Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana called for the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state by a certain deadline, even if Israelis and Palestinians had failed to agree among themselves:
Solana's plan is a classic example of the pressure paradigm: Frustrated by the slow pace of direct negotiations between the parties, the world powers seek to dictate a final status outcome, especially to Israel.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner moved in the same direction in February, 2010:
Kouchner and his Spanish counterpart Moratinos wrote that the European Union must not confine itself to the ... outlines of the final settlement;" it "should collectively recognize the Palestinian State.... There is no more time to lose. Europe must pave the way." 
The EU as a whole has not gone this far yet. In November, 2009, the Palestinians formally asked the EU to urge the U.N. Security Council to recognize a unilaterally declared state,  only to be told that conditions were not yet ripe for such a move.  But in March 2010, under EU pressure, the Quartet set a 24-month deadline for final settlement of the conflict and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.  Kouchner said: "France supports the creation of a viable, independent, democratic Palestinian state ... by the first quarter of 2012." 
The PLO: For years, the U.S. government had a strict policy of not negotiating with the PLO until it renounced terror. The Ford administration affirmed it in writing in 1975: The United States "will not recognize or negotiate with the PLO, so long as the PLO does not recognize Israel's right to exist and does not accept UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338."  In 1985, President Reagan signed it into law.  In November, 1988, Yasser Arafat finally bowed to the U.S. conditions and renounced armed struggle, and Reagan authorized the first contacts between U.S. officials and the PLO. 
The Europeans never accepted the idea that recognition of the PLO should be conditioned on it renouncing terror and accepting Israel's right to exist. Fully eight years before Arafat seemingly renounced terror and recognized Israel, the European Economic Community, including the governments of Britain, France, and Germany, warned Washington in the 1980 Venice declaration, that the PLO had to "be associated with [peace] negotiations ... to exercise fully [the Palestinian] right to self-determination."  Throughout the period that U.S. administrations shunned the PLO as a form of pressure to induce it to renounce terror, European leaders condoned contact with the organization and various forms of recognition and tried to move the U.S. policy. 
Hezbollah: A similar tension exists today between European and U.S. policies toward Hezbollah. The U.S. State Department designated Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997,  and U.S. officials have repeatedly called on EU governments to implement a similar ban to allow their own law enforcement and intelligence agencies to curb Hezbollah operations.  Hezbollah's Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah publicly admitted that, if the EU did this, "our funding [and] moral, political, and material support will ... dry up."  But EU Foreign Policy Chief Solana claimed in July, 2006, that the EU did not have enough evidence to determine whether Hezbollah should be listed as a terror organization. Two-hundred and thirteen members of Congress wrote to Solana in protest.  In June, 2009, Solana went even further and met with a Hezbollah official who had been elected to the Lebanese parliament, saying that "Hezbollah is a member of the Lebanese society." 
Likewise, several European countries, led by France, have told Washington that Hezbollah is a legitimate Lebanese political party with a military wing, not primarily a terrorist organization, as if the idea of an armed political party is not a contradiction in terms. In 2005, French President Jacques Chirac rebuffed a U.S. request to add Hezbollah to the EU terrorist blacklist, arguing that it is an important part of Lebanese society.  In 2006, Italian Foreign minister Massimo D'Alema said that "apart from their well-known terrorist activities, they also have political standing and are socially engaged."  In July, 2007, French Foreign Minister Kouchner hosted a meeting that included Hezbollah in an effort to broker a Lebanese political compromise, in spite of objections expressed by ninety-one U.S. Congressmen. A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson declared, "Hezbollah is an important political group [that should be] fully integrated into the political scene."  The spokesperson was prompted to make this statement only two years after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, for which Hezbollah leader Nasrallah has stated that he expects a U.N. tribunal to indict members of his group,  and twenty-two years after the October, 1983, attack on the Beirut barracks where fifty-eight French paratroopers were killed,  an act for which Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyah was indicted by a U.S. grand jury in 1985  and for which a U.S. federal judge found Hezbollah to be guilty in 2003. 
Although the Europeans may not yet have succeeded in getting Washington to accept Hezbollah as a legitimate political party, they have contributed to an environment in which such a shift will be a growing temptation for U.S. leaders, as Hezbollah tightens its noose around Lebanon.
Hamas: European policy toward Hamas is somewhat different than its stance toward Hezbollah. Under U.S. pressure, the military wing of Hamas was put on the EU terror list in December, 2001,  and its "political" wing was added to the list in September, 2003.  Hamas's violent takeover of Gaza in June, 2007 placed conflicting pressures on the Europeans. The violence of the Hamas putsch, the organization's fierce ideological doctrine, and the firing of thousands of Qassam rockets into Israel since the Gaza takeover,  cast doubts even among the most gullible Europeans that the organization was in fact evolving in a moderate direction. But the reality that Hamas has control over the people of Gaza, a population for whom many Europeans feel a special responsibility, reinforces the belief that it must be deemed a partner, both for the delivery of humanitarian aid (even if a terrorist organization might siphon off funds) and for political negotiations over the future of Gaza.
Many Europeans still believe that engagement with Hamas will result in a moderation of its position; for them, the terror listing is an impediment. In August, 2007, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi called for dialogue with Hamas:
Javier Solana, then the European Union's Foreign Policy Chief, said in 2006 that it was "not impossible" for Hamas to change.
This idea is disputed by statements by Hamas itself, reiterating its longstanding commitment to Israel's destruction as a prerequisite to the establishment of an Islamic state in the whole of Palestine. 
French Foreign Minister Kouchner thinks there will not be an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement without Hamas at the table. He said in January, 2009 that "we realized this long ago — that Hamas was one of the interlocutors" in the Middle East peace process and that "we believe we will have to talk to them when they ... agree to start negotiations." A Ministry spokesman said that Paris would be ready to talk to a Palestinian unity government that included Hamas, as long as it "respects the principle of the peace process." 
Lord Patten, EU Commissioner for External Relations, 2000-2004, says the sole condition for talks with Hamas should be an agreement to a ceasefire, even if Hamas refuses to accept past signed agreements.  Massimo D'Alema, Italy's Foreign Minister, 2006-2008, believes that Hamas is more like the Irish Republican Army (IRA) than akin to al-Qa'ida.  Sweden granted a visa to a Hamas minister in 2007,  and the former Finnish Foreign Minister, Erkki Tuomioja, claimed that Hamas "is not the same party it was" before it won the 2006 elections.  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU's External Relations Commissioner, 2004-2009, announced that she would review the EU ban on direct aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government,  though she backed away from this position after Hamas seized control of Gaza and arrested Fatah officials in June of 2007. 
These European voices advocating political negotiations with Hamas have not yet convinced either EU officials or Washington. The main obstacle is not Jerusalem's objections, but reluctance to undermine the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad. But, if the "moderates" led by these two slip, resistance to pressure from supporters of negotiations with Hamas may begin to erode. Many Europeans may simply not have the fortitude for a long struggle with implacable foes and may be easily lulled into wishful thinking that the West can moderate Islamic extremists simply by talking to them.
Israel's security fence against terrorist infiltration, under construction since 2003, has strong support among the Israeli public because the barrier has been effective in preventing suicide attacks. A recent public opinion poll finds that "it is hard to find any issue in Israel about which there is so wide a consensus."  When there was no fence, during the first three years after the launch of Arafat's al-Aqsa Intifada in September, 2000, Israel suffered ninety-three suicide attacks that left 447 Israelis dead and 4,343 Israeli civilians wounded. In the most recent four years, since most of the fence has been completed, the number of attacks has declined to fewer than five a year, and the number of Israelis killed by terrorists has averaged fewer than ten per year. 
Washington has acknowledged the importance of the barrier for Israel's security, but expressed concern about its route wherever it deviates from the pre-1967 line.  In the words of President George W. Bush:
The Europeans, on the other hand, have been unanimous and firm in opposing the construction of the fence since its inception. On November 18, 2003, the European Council urged Israel "to stop and reverse the construction of the socalled security fence inside the occupied Palestinian territories, including in and around East Jerusalem, which is in departure of the armistice line of 1949," adding that the fence was not only unacceptable, but also "in contradiction to the relevant provisions of international law."  On July 20, 2004, all twenty-five members of the European Union voted for a resolution in the U.N. General Assembly, opposed by the United States, demanding the barrier's removal.  The European Council reiterated in its "Conclusions" of December 8, 2009, that the "separation barrier where built on occupied land [is] illegal under international law." 
Europe affected U.S. policy on the fence by funding a sophisticated PLO diplomatic team, the elite Palestinian unit known as the Negotiation Support Unit of the PLO (NSU), headed by Palestinian chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat. The NSU is funded by Britain's Department for International Development and has also received financial support from the governments of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.  It consists of more than twenty professionals who periodically lobby Washington policymakers on behalf of the PLO, with the participation of Palestinian advisers, including Diana Buttu (Canadian-Palestinian), Michael Tarazi (American-Palestinian), Omar Dajani, and Amjad Atallah. A high point in the work of the NSU was a dramatic PowerPoint presentation on Israel's security fence given to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice by the NSU's Stephanie Koury (a Lebanese-American from Texas), during a visit to the West Bank on June 28, 2003. Hours later, Rice shocked and angered members of the Israeli Cabinet, when she asked them to "reconsider" the fence. Koury's presentation caused the Bush administration to become much more critical of the security fence. A few days after the Koury briefing, an AIPAC colleague, and I met with Rice privately and heard an unfiltered expression of her reaction to Koury. Three weeks later, the NSU team flew to Washington to make the presentation to other U.S. officials and members of Congress.  Rice's anger over the fence was the low point of relations between Washington and Jerusalem during the George W. Bush years, and Palestinian lobbying funded by the Europeans achieved it.
U.S. State Department spokespersons have at times expressed disagreement with the Israeli policy of targeted killings, for example, on August 8, 2001,  November 5, 2002,  and April 17, 2004.  In reality, Washington accepts the Israeli policy as long as it seeks to neutralize imminent threats.  The United States itself has become the world's leading practitioner of targeted killings, according to a recent report by the U.N.'s special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions.  The George W. Bush administration used drones to attack militant targets forty-five times.  The Obama administration has increased the attacks to fifty-three in 2009 and to thirty-nine in the first half of 2010 in Pakistan alone, according to the New America Foundation,  which also found that drone strikes since Obama took office had accounted for approximately 450 deaths, about one-quarter of them civilians.  Michael E. Leiter, head of Obama's National Counterterrorism Center, defended the policy on July 1, 2010, saying that it would be "wholly irresponsible" not to stop those plotting to harm Americans.  Like the Israeli public, majorities of Americans support targeted killings of terrorists. 
But the Europeans have shown less tolerance than do Americans for the Israeli policy. On December 13, 2002, the European Council called upon Israel "to stop excessive use of force and extrajudicial killings, which do not bring security to the Israeli population."  On November 18, 2003, the Council said targeted killings were unlawful and urged Israel "to abstain from any punitive measures which are not in accordance with international law, including extrajudicial killings and destruction of houses."  On January 17, 2004, EU spokesman Diego Ojeda said that the "European Union has spoken on several occasions against [Israel's] socalled extrajudicial killings of suspected terrorists."  In February, 2010, President Nicolas Sarkozy declared France's "irrevocable condemnation of what is nothing less than an assassination" by Israeli agents of a Hamas commander in Dubai.  In December, 2007, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights produced a harshly critical paper on the illegality of "extrajudicial execution" by Israel, a publication "produced with the assistance of the European Union."
There is an element of hypocrisy in the European claim that Israel's use of targeted killings is unlawful, because some of the European governments that approve these statements engage in the practice themselves. In July, 2010, a British official revealed that a U.K. spy agency pinpoints the hiding places of al-Qa'ida and Taliban chiefs in Afghanistan and Pakistan for targeted killings by U.S. drones.  British agents attempted to kill German field marshal Irwin Rommel during the North African campaign  and did kill SS Obergurppenführer Reinhard Heydrich in 1942.  In May, 1987, in Loughgall, Northern Ireland, a British special operations unit killed eight Irish Republican Army (IRA) militants who were preparing to attack a police station.  A year later, on March 7, 1988, British security forces killed three IRA militants in Gibraltar, as they walked toward the border with Spain.  In July 2010, the French government acknowledged that its security forces assisted in killing six terrorists in Mali linked to al-Qa'ida to prevent a terrorist attack in Mauritania. 
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons that the blockade of Gaza was "unacceptable and unsustainable."  The British Ambassador to the UN demanded that Israeli restrictions on access to Gaza be lifted to allow unfettered access and the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods, and persons to and from the enclave, which, he said, was among the highest international priorities of the new British government.  Former EU Commissioner Patten argued that the Israeli blockade was "immoral, illegal, and ineffective." 
Here again the European position is hypocritical. From 1993 to 1996, twelve European navies participated in a NATO-Western European Union blockade known as "Sharp Guard," enforcing both an arms embargo and economic sanctions on the former Yugoslavia. This involved the navies of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the U.K. Some 74,000 ships were challenged; almost 6,000 were inspected at sea, and more than 1,400 were diverted and inspected in port.  Had there been violent resistance to this blockade, all the parties enforcing it were committed to the use of force. The fact that no one dared to challenge this powerful blockade prevented violence from occurring, not any principled objection to the use of force. Nonetheless, the Europeans at the UN Security Council continue to put Israel on the defensive about its Gaza blockade, making it more difficult for Washington to support Israel's right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. 
The Europeans evidenced a similar attitude in July, 2006, when Israel went into Lebanon in response to Hezbollah attacks. An agreed statement by the EU Presidency stated, "The European Union is greatly concerned about the disproportionate use of force by Israel in Lebanon in response to attacks by Hezbollah on Israel."  French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy agreed that Israel's strikes were "a disproportionate act of war" and said that the French government supported "Lebanon's demand for a referral to the United Nations Security Council as soon as possible." 
However, on this issue, Europe, again, is closer to the Arab side and is more critical of Israel than the United States is. On June 13, 1980, the European Economic Community, the precursor to the EU, affirmed in its Venice declaration that "these settlements, as well as modifications in population and property in the occupied Arab territories, are illegal under international law."  On December 8, 2009, the EU Council reiterated this belief: "Settlements ... demolition of homes and evictions are illegal under international law." 
The juridical premise on which the European policy is based is that Israel is occupying land taken from another sovereign power. But the pre-1967 boundary was nothing more than a demarcation of the positions held by opposing armies when the fighting stopped in 1949, never recognized by either side as a permanent political border. Nor has the Jordanian occupation of the West Bank prior to 1967 been recognized by any country apart from Britain and Pakistan. The West Bank is disputed, rather than occupied, territory, so the Geneva Convention cannot be applied,  as the Europeans seek to do. The Europeans are reifying a temporary holding line that existed for less than eighteen years (1949-1967), while ignoring realities that have lasted for twice as long (1967-2010).
For Israelis, more important than an arcane legal dispute is the practical impact of declaring all Jewish communities across the pre-1967 line to be equally illegal. That statement, if true, would mean that more than half the Jews in Jerusalem, the nation's capital, are living unlawfully on somebody else's land  in homes the Israelis built and paid for in completely Jewish, established communities including Gilo, French Hill and Pisgat Ze'ev, which are across the previous armistice line. Israelis do not consider these to be settlements at all.  It would mean that Maale Adumim, a sprawling metropolis of 36,500 people, is lumped together with nearly unpopulated dots on the map. It would also mean that the militarily indefensible pre-1967 line is recognized under international law as permanent, in contravention of a fact that was implicitly acknowledged by Security Council Resolution 242,  which envisaged Israel's retention of some territories captured in the 1967 war.
European intervention often inflames controversies over settlements between Washington and Jerusalem, frictions that have had a particularly destructive effect in the case of the Obama administration. Martin Indyk, an adviser to Obama's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East Envoy George Mitchell, said recently:
European pressure has pushed the Obama administration to emphasize the thorniest part of the settlement issue, Jewish housing in Jerusalem. Bill Clinton wisely avoided this minefield, even when, in 1995, the Yitzhak Rabin government gave approval for 5,000 new housing units to go up in East Jerusalem because, as an adviser said, "To take action now ... would be very explosive in the negotiations, and frankly, would put us out of business as a facilitator of those negotiations." 
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 Ha'aretz (Tel Aviv), Jan. 9, 2004; Reuters, Jan. 9, 2004.
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 Donald Neff, "Israel Requests $10 Billion in U.S. Loan Guarantees for Soviet Immigrants," Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Apr./May 1995, pp. 79-80.
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 Neff, "Israel Requests $10 Billion."
 The New York Times, Jan. 31, 1990.
 Neff, "Israel Requests $10 Billion"; The Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 11, 2010.
 Leon T. Hadar, "Showdown at the Settlements Corral: Can Obama Remake the Bush-Baker Classic?" Foreign Policy, Mar. 25, 2010.
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 Neff, "Israel Requests $10 Billion."
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 Ibid., Feb. 21, 2010.
 Bernard Kouchner and Miguel Angel Moratinos, "A Palestinian State: When?" Le Monde (Paris), Feb. 23, 2010.
 The Guardian, Nov. 16, 2009.
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Europe, European States, Politics, & Public Policy
Europe, Europeans, & Anti-Semitism
Jews & Anti-Semitism
Israel & the Arabs -- The Israeli-Arab Conflict
Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors
American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East
Islamism & Jihadism -- Radical Islam & Islamic Terrorism
Page Three Page Two Page One
International Politics & World Disorder:
War, Peace, & Geopolitics in the Real World:
Foreign Affairs & U.S. National Security
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
Dr. Steven J. Rosen is the Director of the Washington Project of the Middle East Forum. He holds a Ph.D. degree from the Maxwell School of Diplomacy at Syracuse University. From 1968 to 1978, Dr. Rosen taught Political Science and International Relations at several universities -- the University of Pittsburgh, Brandeis University, and the Australian National University. From 1978 to 1982, he was Associate Director of the National Security Strategies Program at the RAND Corporation. From 1982 to 2005, he was Director of Foreign Policy Issues at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In 2009, he joined the Middle East Forum's staff as a visiting fellow, with special responsibility for U.S. foreign policy. Dr. Rosen, along with Dr. Walter S. Jones, co-authored a bestselling textbook, The Logic of International Relations, which went through five editions from 1974 to 1982.
The foregoing article by Dr. Rosen was originally published in the Middle East Quarterly, Fall, 2010, and can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum, a foreign policy think tank which seeks to define and promote American interests in the Middle East, defining U.S. interests to include fighting radical Islam, working for Palestinian Arab acceptance of the State of Israel, improving the management of U.S. efforts to promote constitutional democracy in the Middle East, reducing America's energy dependence on the Middle East, more robustly asserting U.S. interests vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, and countering the Iranian threat. (URL: http://www.meforum.org/2774/arab-lobby-europe)
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
LINKS TO PARTICULAR ISSUES & SUBJECT MATTER CATEGORIES
TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
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Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor