Viewers watching the televised emergency session of the United Nations Security Council on Friday may be forgiven for thinking the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) representative to the UN was trying to bore the Israeli ambassador into submission with his speech. The meeting had been called in response to US President Donald Trump’s outrageous decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Riyad Mansour, spoke against the US decision by reading out prepared remarks, which sounded more like an academic essay than a speech appropriate to such a historical moment. In it he listed decades worth of UN resolutions and declarations stating that East Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state with the Israeli capital in West Jerusalem – the long promised two-state solution. Mansour’s list was only so many words on paper. And it is totally disingenuous for PA representatives to now say that Trump’s decision undermines the US role as an “honest broker” between the “two sides” – the US government has always sided with Israel.
Despite repeated expressions of “concern” by the EU over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, the EU in practice encourages the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
It supports and even bankrolls Israel to the tune of millions of Euros with programmes like Horizon 2020, which funds Israeli high-tech research, giving EU tax-payers’ money over to the apartheid regime and the arms firms who “battle test” their weapons on Palestinian civilians.
And as my colleague at The Electronic Intifada David Cronin pointed out recently, “Israel’s science ministry is one of the main bodies coordinating that state’s involvement in Horizon 2020. The science ministry is not based inside present-day Israel. Rather, its main offices are in occupied East Jerusalem”. So the EU in practice already recognises Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, but does so more quietly than Trump. It is a sort of silent recognition.
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