Shlomo Ben-Ami is an old hand in Israeli and international politics. He has been Minister of Internal Security and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, and now serves as Vice President of the Toledo International Center for Peace in Madrid. This is a summary of a 30-minute discussion with him following the 17 March 2015 Israeli election. He talks about Mr. Netanyahu’s reelection, the state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and possible steps by the international community to move things forward under the current circumstances.
Three recent developments, two from the US and one from Europe, give us some reason to believe that a gradual end to hypocrisy and double standards may be coming about in the world of international affairs and diplomacy. They concern Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. In the latter case, you may have heard that the Swedish government decided not to renew a military cooperation agreement with the oppressive kingdom despite protests by the Swedish business community.
In a lukewarm compromise among its main parties, the European Parliament declared on 17 December 2014 that it “supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced.” This comes in the wake of similar, and stronger, votes in European national parliaments. It is not enough; the EU needs to drastically review its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in light of the growing sense of unease across Europe regarding Israel’s aggressive settlement policy, and the lack of progress in the peace process.