Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Thursday, January 29, 2009

EU is still anti-Hamas

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/01/eu-is-still-anti-hamas.html

 

OPINION:Minor wobbles aside, EU support for Fatah has meant consistent opposition to Hamas, writes RORY MILLER.
 

SPEAKING ON a visit to the Gaza Strip on Monday, Louis Michel, the EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, ripped into Hamas. Placing "overwhelming responsibility" for the recent Gaza crisis on the Islamist group, he dismissed it as a "terrorist movement" that "has to be denounced as such".
 
Such talk from a top EU official has come as a surprise to supporters of Israel , who habitually accuse the EU of anti-Israel bias, while pro-Palestinians – who have long called on Europe to break with the US-Israeli policy of isolating Hamas – will be dismayed.
But Michel's statement is neither surprising nor dismaying. Rather, it is the inevitable stance of a Union that after years of division is now united in the view that Hamas is the major obstacle to a durable political settlement between Israel and Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.
 
Since 2001, when the EU first decided to follow the US precedent and annually publish its terror blacklist, there has been much debate within the Union over whether Hamas, which violently opposed the Oslo process in the 1990s, should be added to that list.
In 2002, the EU agreed to proscribe Izzedin al-Kassam, Hamas's military wing, but the consensus view remained that Hamas's political wing had a role to play in the political process and should not be isolated. As then-EU special envoy to the Middle East , Miguel Angel Moratinos, explained in December 2002: "Hamas faces a clear choice between the Turkish model of democratic Islam, and the al-Qaeda model."
 
However, the refusal of Hamas to abandon violence resulted in Britain , along with the Netherlands , demanding a crackdown on a group that was, in the words of then British foreign secretary Jack Straw, "literally trying to blow [up] this peace process".
Despite opposition from other members, notably Ireland , Spain and France, this view finally gained EU-wide support in 2004 and Hamas was blacklisted.
 
The subsequent revelation (later retracted) by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana that he met Hamas secretly in late 2004 highlighted the EU's ongoing failure to develop and apply a consistent approach to this militant group.
 
The success of Hamas in the third round of Palestinian municipal elections in May 2005 and especially the group's victory in the January 2006 Palestinian legislative elections also provided much ammunition for those within the EU keen to end Hamas's status as a terror group.
 
In the wake of these elections, senior politicians from across the EU expressed support for engaging with Hamas. Finland 's then foreign minister, Erkki Tuomioja, argued that "it is not the same party it was before the elections".
 
His Italian counterpart, Massimo D'Alema, argued that Hamas had a "political side" and compared the body to the IRA and ETA, the Basque separatist movement, which became "political movements from being terror groups". Even the British and the Dutch, who had initiated the original ban, seemed to be moving towards this position.
 
On top of this, the EU's growing difficulty in providing humanitarian assistance, especially fuel and welfare payments, to the people of Gaza without engaging directly with Hamas, meant that by May 2007 it was reviewing the ban on direct aid to the Hamas-dominated government and most commentators were predicting EU-Hamas talks in the near future.
 
But Hamas's violent overthrow of Fatah in Gaza in June 2007 changed everything because it directly threatened a cornerstone of the EU's Middle East policy since the late 1970s – support for Fatah, first under Yasser Arafat and now under Abbas, as the representative of the Palestinian people.
 
As such, the EU immediately condemned Hamas for its "violent" seizure of Gaza , and gave Abbas the green light to take action to remove the Hamas threat and made no bones about it. As Solana explained: "What we think is that this [Abbas-led Palestinian Authority] government . . . is the only legitimate government that we should support."
 
This explains the EU's endorsement of Abbas's dismissal of the Hamas-dominated unity government after only three months in office, and his proposal to call early elections to oust Hamas at the ballot box.
 
Michel's condemnation of the Islamist group reminds us that the recent Gaza conflict has done nothing to soften the EU approach to Hamas. On the contrary, the Israeli offensive in recent weeks has left Hamas on its knees and an emboldened EU, led by Louis Michel's verbal rocket attack, is intent on doing its bit to finish off the group.
 
This is very bad news for a battered and war-weary Hamas – not simply because it comes on the heels of US President Barack Obama's harsh criticism of the group.
 
Since taking power in 2006, Hamas has held out the hope that eventually the EU would begin dealing with it on normal terms and this would, in turn, gradually lead to more widespread international legitimacy and the further marginalisation of Fatah.
 
But just when it looked like Europe would have to respond to humanitarian and political realities and bring Hamas in from the cold, the group's overthrow of Fatah in Gaza in 2007 ended any chance of this happening.
 

Now Hamas has nowhere to turn and no one to blame but itself.
 

© 2009 The Irish Times
 


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/01/eu-is-still-anti-hamas.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment



<< Home


FREE EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION
Subscribe to
ZNN
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by groups.yahoo.com


Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israël in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israpundit
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Z-Word
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
UN-Biased
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Zionism
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog
Liberticracia
CNPublications
SEO

Reference
Zionism
Anti-Semitism
Anti-Zionism
Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Bible
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Islamism
Jihad
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Israel
Jew
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism
Russian

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Experimental
Isfake lobby
Mysterology

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products
Mezuzah

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory