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La carotte (la plus grosse possible) et le bâton(le plus doux possible)

dimanche 24 octobre 2004

Alors que les relations économiques entre Israël et l’Union européenne sont déjà trés conséquentes, ce parlementaire estime qu’il faut encore les renforcer afin de pouvoir peser plus significativement sur Israël, le moment venu.

"Dear mr Hamburger,

Recently we received your email concerning the proposal of the European Commission to admit Israel in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). In this reaction we inform you about the PVDA point of view in the European Parliament :

The PVDA and the Social democrats in the EP support the intention to strengthen the political and economic relations with the neighbouring countries by carrying out a special policy in regard to the (future) neighbours of the Union. The aim of the ENP is to stimulate the stability, security and prosperity of the neighbours of the Union. By the ENP the EU indicates that it is co-responsible for stability and peace in the surrounding region.

This is the case for the ENP in general. Where Israel is concerned, our opinion is that ENP could play a positive role. By intensifying the economic and other relations the possibility is created to point out European objection against Israeli actions. It may create a platform for increased European involvement in a peaceful solution in the Middle East conflict. In a time when Israel seems to be drifting away from Europe and Europe’s informal influence on Israel seems to be decreasing, this is needed more than ever.

The partnerships concluded in the context of the ENP are not unconditional. They should be based on mutually shared values, such as democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights. Implementation of the ENP will be cast into the format of cooperation agreements, which are tailored to the situation, and problems of the specific countries. Thus the announcement that such a partnership will be concluded with Israel definitely does not mean that israel will automatically be granted all sorts of economic privileges. Neither will the ENP be limited to this. On the contrary, the ENP offers a broad framework in which economic integration is but one aspect of the much broader approach towards economic and political developments.

A component of this policy is the consistent obligation of partner countries to peaceful solution of regional conflict. In this sense inclusion of Israel in the ENP offers additional clues for continuous influence on the Israeli attitude. This is also the case for the Palestinian Authority which too is an intended partner within the ENP.

Through the ENP the EU wants to have a special relationship with her neighbouring countries. This is not a preliminary stage for admission to the EU. For this there are demands of a completely different nature. In the domain of democracy and human rights many improvements are needed in the countries with which the EU seeks a closer relationship through the ENP. By means of the ENP the EU can endeavour to achieve progress in these areas. The EU has chosen a similar approach towards Belarus and Moldova.

The proposal of the European Commission of October 11, which prompted your letter, does not so much concern the goals of the ENP or the question which countries will be included. The proposal is about the programmatic and practical content. The decision to include Israel in the ENP has already been taken.

We appreciate and share your concern about the current Israeli position. But we do not support your call to keep Israel outside the ENP, because its primary effect will lead to further reduction of Europe’s influence on Israel’s position. Only a solid political relationship and strengthened dialogue will make a serious contribution of Europe towards solving the conflict in the Middle East. The ENP offers this opportunity. We believe that many of our supporters in Israel, who wish to keep the avenues for dialogue with Europe open, share this opinion.

Yours sincerely,

On behalf of the PvdA-eurodelegation,

Jan Marinus Wiersma, member of the EP- foreign affairs committee

In addition, see Jaap Hamburger’s reply :

"Dear mr Wiersma,

Thank you for your elaborate, in some aspects factual and elucidating reply to our position.

My first and non-definitive reaction - and I limit myself to the case of Israel - would be that, we do not oppose the ENP as such, but the sequence of actions. Our position is that an agreement in the context of the ENP could be a good conclusion of a preceding process of consistent and extensive policy change of the country in question, in the direction of respect for the norms of international law. In the case of Israel, and seeing its conduit concerning the occupation of Palestinian territory during the past decades, we are sceptical about the effects of an approach of « give and take » as envisioned by the ENP. In practise this has usually resulted in Israel « taking » without much « giving ».

I reserve the liberty to reply more elaborately to your careful and respectful reaction to our position at a later stage.

Yours sincerely,

Jaap Hamburger Vice Chairperson of A Different Jewish Voice