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November 20, 2014 8:44 am

Synagogue Atrocity Won’t Deter EU’s Drive to Recognize ‘Palestine’

avatar by Eli Wishnivetski

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EU Foreign Affairs representative Federica Mogerhini consults with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. Photo: Twitter

Despite the controversial decision to officially recognize the state of Palestine three weeks ago, the Swedish government will not open an embassy on Palestinian territory according to Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.

In an interview given to Sweden’s Public Radio this week, Wallström noted that no country has opened an embassy in Ramallah and that all matters can be handled out of Sweden’s consulate in Jerusalem. “We are satisfied with this arrangement,” Wallström said.

The announcement was made during this week’s summit of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Belgium, the home of the European Parliament. The Middle East peace process is a major focal point of the EU conference amid growing sentiment among the member states to follow Sweden’s lead in recognizing a Palestinian state.

Last month, the British and Irish parliaments passed non-binding resolutions supporting recognition while Spain did so this week and France has announced its intention to do the same. New EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini of Italy stated that the summit would focus not only on recognition but also on how to aid “the building of a Palestinian state.” Mogherini released a statement condemning Tuesday’s massacre in a Jerusalem synagogue in which two Palestinian terrorists murdered five people, including a police officer, and injured another eight, but urged both sides to “calm down the situation and prevent further escalation.”

The European Union cannot officially recognize a country without unanimous consensus among its 28 member states. Although Sweden, Poland and Hungary (the latter two prior to becoming EU members) have made their recognitions of Palestine official, there are a number of holdouts among the members that will not do so until a two-state solution is achieved as a product of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This is the current position of Germany, Lithuania, Denmark and Norway.

Israel vehemently opposes any unilateral resolutions, binding or non-binding. PM Benjamin Netanyahu said that “calls from European countries… to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state pushed peace backwards” and that “such moves give Palestinians the message that they do not need to make the concessions necessary for peace.” Israeli website, Hakol HaYehudi enumerated 240 terrorist attacks carried out between November 7th and 14th. Tuesday’s terrorist attack did not deter the Spanish parliament from proceeding with its scheduled vote on the non-binding resolution of recognition of Palestine.

On the heels of the synagogue murders, the speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, proclaimed that Israel cannot “be in any kind of talks with those who slaughter innocents in their holy places.” Netanyahu has laid the responsibility of the recent Palestinian terror escalations, including yesterday’s attack, squarely at the feet of “Hamas and Abbas (whose) incitement the international community irresponsibly ignores.” Statements by PA President Mahmoud Abbas within the last month have been circumstantially linked to terrorist attacks within the same period. While Abbas issued a qualified condemnation in the aftermath of the synagogue attack, his Fatah party outwardly praised the perpetrators. Palestinians in Gaza celebrated the terrorist attack.

While condemning the Har Nof attack, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström seemingly blamed both sides for escalating the “spiral of violence.” “A series of violent acts have followed one another,” she said, urging restraint. Over the weekend, criticisms of Sweden’s recognition were renewed when Sweden’s monarch, King Carl Gustav, congratulated Mahmoud Abbas on Palestine’s national day. (November 15 is the anniversary of the Palestinians’ unilateral declaration of independence proclaimed by the late PLO chief Yasser Arafat in 1988.) “When you recognize a state, it’s common that the king does so as well,” Wallström said with a “broad smile.”

Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, Isaac Bachman – who is yet to return to Sweden following his recall – took exception to the King’s greetings. On his Facebook page, Bachman noted that Sweden is dealing with “the most violent ‘state’ on earth, the most split one…a ‘state’ that its President cannot visit and does not control half of his people, who are oppressed by his practical companions (Hamas) to the same ‘government’, a government that is 4 years overdue with democratic elections.”

Addressing the Jerusalem synagogue atrocity, Bachman observed that “most members of the international community have turned a blind eye to Palestinian incitement to violence. This permits Abbas and other Palestinian leaders to allow the publication of the hate speech and blood libels that directly inspire terrorist attacks.”

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  • Olivia Evangelista

    Dear Author

    You made no mention of international law and specifically the ruling of the International Court of Justice or UN Security Council Resolutions 476 and 478 concerning the illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territories. There are over 150 UN Resolutions plus the ruling of the International Court of Justice in the Hague with respect to the 421 mile illegal “wall” which the EU and UN both condemned.

    Likud reject the right of Palestine to exist and reject the international status of Jerusalem (as per UN Security Council Resolutions 476 and 478).

    What about the charters of Nafatali Bennett’s Home Party? This gentleman is part of the coalition that supports Mr Netanyahu.

    Members of the Knesset advocated sustained massacres against the Palestine people – inflammatory comments by Ayelet Shaked are brought to mind. We should not forget – Moshe Feiglin, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, who had published a plan for the total destruction of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

    Baruck Goldstein who had sprayed Palestinian people with his automatic Galil rifle in the Palestinian city of Hebron. Goldstein is revered by settlers.


    West Bank mosque torched in suspected settler attack. Eyewitnesses said Israeli settlers arrived at the Nablus-area mosque after midnight and carried out attack.
    Also see: http://www.btselem.org/topic/settler_violence
    Israeli Supreme Court upholds law allowing housing discrimination against Palestinians:
    Palestine is occupied and has Israel has not complied with the International Court of Justice or over 150 UN Resolutions. Palestine was recognised again in 2012 by a massive 138 countries.

    The new Palestinian Government is made up of technocrats and has been acknowledged by the EU and US.

    Human Rights Watch: Since mid-October, Israeli forces have severely restricted freedom of movement in some Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and limited access to the Haram al-Sharif for Muslim worshippers, in addition to the existing limited access for non-Muslims.

    Israel has also used what appears to be excessive or unnecessary force in response to Palestinian protests, wounding 454 Palestinians from October 28 to November 10, mostly in East Jerusalem, according to UN data. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces fired at a car on November 14, fracturing the skull of a 10-year-old girl, Palestinian media reported. On November 13, Israeli forces fired a sponge-tipped bullet that blinded an 11-year-old boy in one eye.

    Israeli settlers have also carried out a series of attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank. On November 12, arsonists burned a mosque in the West Bank Palestinian town of al-Mughayer, near the settlement of Shilo north of Ramallah. There have been no claims of responsibility and no arrests.

    Lest we also not forget the lynching of a Palestinian bus driver by settlers that the Palestinians and the Islamic and Arab world believe was inspired by settlers.

    Thank you.


    • Anthony Aloysious

      I agree. Thank you.