Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Israel weighing EU membership
'The visiting delegation from the European Union was startled this week when Israel Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said his government was weighing an application to join the EU.'

'Startled' is the word. Some interesting questions are raised by this - would Europeans have freedom of movement into Israel? And would that include the Occupied Territories and the Golan Heights? What are the final borders of Israel anyway? Would Arab Israelis have freedom of movement into Europe? And Palestinians? What would happen to the 'Jewish State'? Perhaps Israel might have better luck if it 'weighed an application' to join the United States.

However, the article continues: 'Any economic advantages to Israeli membership would have to be balanced against the wider political costs to the EU, unless the Jewish state's relationship with its Arab neighbors is transformed. Even then, those European countries like France that already sneer at Britain as "America's Trojan horse" (and the German media that sneers at Poland as "America's Trojan donkey") might hesitate before admitting another such pro-American member.'

'The Israeli foreign minister's statement also coincided with a report by the Washington-based Cato Institute think tank, which suggested an important geopolitical aspect to Israeli membership. "Signaling to the Israelis and the Palestinians that a peaceful resolution to their conflict could be a ticket for admission into the EU, would be more than just enticing them with economic rewards," the Cato report said. "Conditioning Israel's entry into the EU on its agreement to withdraw from the occupied territories and dismantle the Jewish settlements there, would strengthen the hands of those Israelis who envision their state not as a militarized Jewish ghetto but as a Westernized liberal community."'

No comments: