The past month has been difficult for Israel. With its government in turmoil as the nation girds for the next election, the country has seen a disturbing flare-up of Palestinian violence – including a brief exchange of rockets from Gaza and the firebombing of Israelis in the West Bank during the past week. But as much as Israelis have accustomed themselves to internal turmoil, they have yet to adjust to the vitriol directed at them from European capitals and from European diplomats. A little more than a week ago, a top European Union court ruled that the terrorist group Hamas, which rules Gaza, should be stricken from the E.U.’s list of terror organizations. On the same day, the European Parliament adopted a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state.
Those moves followed an announcement by Danish Ambassador Jesper Vahr at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference that Europe holds the Jewish state to a different standard than the Palestinians. According to Vahr, Palestinian violence, while regrettable, is justifiable, while Israeli reprisals and policies designed to protect its citizens are not. From Vahr’s perspective, since Israel is part of the Western world, it is held to a different standard of behavior than the non-Western Arab world.
In a penetrating reaction that has gone viral in pro-Israel circles on the Internet, syndicated columnist Caroline Glick, who was a co-panelist with Vahr, went ballistic, declaring that “this patronizing attitude toward us, that we should be happy that you have a separate standard for Israel is … a statement of contempt for our intelligence.” She also accused European powers of basing their policies on a nascent anti-Semitism dating back to early Christianity.
Glick’s emotion-charged response was a bit over the top. But she correctly identified the hypocrisy of the leaders of what is supposed to be the most “enlightened” of continents, who assert that the only proper Jewish response to Palestinian terror is to turn the other cheek. Such a ridiculous posture would be understandable if the Europeans set that kind of example themselves. But they don’t, and they can’t. Indeed, no nation would dare shirk its responsibility to protect its citizens.
What went unnoticed as this argument unfolded is that Israel’s Supreme Court recently ruled that the government must dismantle the illegally built settlement of Amona, in a case brought by Palestinian owners of the land on which the settlement was built. Although the case took several years to reach resolution, it demonstrated, once again, that Israel, like other Western democracies, is a nation of laws. Palestinians who felt their rights were violated brought suit and were vindicated.
The fault for Palestinian violence lies with the Palestinians themselves. No settlement activity or other perceived wrongs of government can justify the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians. We urge all Palestinians, like their brethren in the Amona case, to embrace the rule of law. Were that to happen, a state of their own would not be too far away.