Israel has several objectives. The first is American aid, of several varieties, which it has. As long as it continues to get American aid without conditions it can do stupid things for a very long time, damaging Palestinians and Israel.
Another thing Israel wants is an economic relationship with Europe and therefore it’s here that the EU has enormous leverage. If the EU said: ‘So long as you break international laws, you can’t participate in the EU market,’ this would be a huge issue in Israel, second only to losing American assistance.
Europe says: ‘We couldn’t do that. Remember what we’ve done to Jews. We can’t use economic leverage against Israel. We can’t be a critic of Israel; we pressure the Jewish state, because of Auschwitz.’ Europe can’t blame someone else’s crimes to enable a state that commits its own crimes.
Israel has to become a normal state. Israel shouldn’t be special because it’s Jewish. It should have no more rights than any other country. It has to behave like a state; declare its borders, recognize international law, and obey international treaties and agreements. Countries have to behave towards it the way they would towards any other state that broke those laws.People will say: ‘Why pick on Israel? What about other countries, which are much worse’, but that neglects several things; Israel describes itself as a democracy and so it should be compared with democracies. If Burma came to the EU and said, ‘we’d like privileged trading rights with you,’ Europe would say: ‘First you have to release political prisoners, hold inclusive elections, and open up your borders.’ We have to say the same things to Israel. Otherwise we’re acknowledging that a Jewish state is an unusual thing; a different thing that’s not to be treated like every other state. It’s the European bad conscience that’s part of the problem.
The biggest mystery in history remains how these cuddly, lovable people keep finding themselves in trouble. How can you not love them, when they love themselves so much? It’s truly baffling, and must have to do with medieval philosophizing of the Catholic Church.