Europe is showing its true colors, again.
First, the General Court of the European Union last Wednesday ordered the EU to remove Hamas from its terror blacklist. A few hours later, the European Parliament backed recognition “in principle” of a Palestinian state.
These two decisions are a one-two knockout punch to any hope that Europe has learned a lesson from its past. Tragically, anti-Semitism is alive and well, though it sometimes appears in the more socially acceptable guise of anti-Israel or “pro-Palestinian rights” stands.
Are we exaggerating? After all, isn’t the ruling based on a “technicality,” as the EU apologists assert?
The ruling, by the esteemed jurists who sit on the EU’s second-highest court, maintains that Hamas’ listing on the terror list was based on “factual imputations derived from the press and the internet.”
Were the thousands of rockets being fired at Israeli civilians “imputations derived from the press”? How about the kidnapping and murder of three boys this summer — was that some kind of unsubstantiated internet story?
No European court would have dared issue such a morally and intellectually bankrupt ruling if the victims had been non-Jews living anywhere else in the world. But when it’s Jews in the Land of Israel, any nonsense will do.
Not surprisingly, Hamas was quick to hail the ruling. “This is a victory for the Palestinian question and for the rights of our people,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told AFP (presumably this includes the rights of Palestinians to be used as human shields by Hamas).
Also not surprisingly, two days after the court decided that Hamas terror is just an unsubstantiated imputation, rockets were falling again in southern Israel. “Color Red” sirens sent thousands of Jews in communities in the Eshkol Regional Council racing for their security shelters last Friday. B’chasdei Hashem, no one was hurt.
The problem, of course, is that Hamas doesn’t look at the small print of EU court rulings and distinguish between “technicalities” and political stands. It views the ruling as a clear sign that the world is buying its narrative — that Israel is “occupying Palestine” and denying the Palestinians their rights and that therefore Hamas and its ilk are freedom fighters, not terrorists.
Having received what amounts to immunity from Europe, the Palestinians have been rebuilding their capacity to attack Jewish civilians in Eretz Yisrael. The Israeli army reports that Hamas has been test-firing rockets into the Mediterranean Sea in preparation for its next assault.
It has also been actively rebuilding terror tunnels leading into Israel that the IDF destroyed this past summer, using construction materials sent by the international community to build homes. The tunnels are intended for use in kidnapping and attacking Jewish civilians and soldiers.
Last week, Hamas held its largest military exercise since this summer’s IDF Operation Protective Edge on the ruins of two Israeli communities evacuated in 2005 in the “disengagement,” Dugit and Nissanit.
Moreover, there have been reports that Hamas and Iran are renewing their old alliance. “[Tehran] has pledged to continue supporting the [Palestinian] resistance,” Ali Baraka, Hamas’ representative in Lebanon, said at the weekend.
The ruling on Hamas’ status as a terror organization was reinforced by the European Parliament’s decision backing recognition “in principle” of a Palestinian state. To be fair, the decision is milder than similar resolutions passed recently by the French, British, Irish and Portuguese parliaments, which called for immediate recognition of “Palestine,” without the need to negotiate with Israel in order to resolve the conflict.
Nonetheless, all such motions give the Palestinians the impression that they don’t need to negotiate with Israel and meet its demand that they end incitement, address its legitimate security needs or recognize it as a Jewish state.
The Palestinians see which way the winds are blowing in the international arena and realize that all they have to do is wait it out. They don’t have to engage in negotiations, which means give and take; they can boycott talks and let the Europeans impose a solution.
Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, correctly called last Wednesday “an incredibly dark day for Jewish communities across Europe.”
He added: “I have no doubt that these two deeply objectionable positions will be received as an affront to all those who are truly striving for peace in the region.
“In particular, the decision to de-list Hamas as a terrorist organization, despite their persistent and deliberate attacks on innocent civilians and their openly stated objectives, to murder Jews and to die for their cause, beggars belief.”
In taking such positions, the Europeans encourage terror — in their own backyard as well — and push off the possibility of bilateral negotiations that can lead to the two-state solution they believe in.
It’s time for Europe to do some serious soul-searching about its past, present and future.