US and EU can pressure Israel: Letter to Financial Times

European Parliament debating chamber

US and EU can pressure Israel by targeting exports

From Arthur Goodman, Diplomatic and Parliamentary Officer, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, London, UK               18 May 2021-05-21

Your editorial “The risk of a new war in the Middle East” (FT View, May 13) comes close to expressing the truth about the failed 28-year-old Oslo peace process, but it doesn’t connect the dots. It says hopes for the two-state solution have been “dashed”, but the peace process must be revived. It says that “for Israelis, the worst violence in seven years should shatter the perception fostered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the occupation of the West Bank and the siege of Gaza do not have consequences for Israel’s security”.

But Oslo failed because it never exerted concerted pressure on Israel to end the occupation, not because it was premised on two states. Absent such pressure, no Israeli government will end the occupation or grant Palestinians their right to self-determination — under any political structure, two states, one state or confederation.

Since Oslo, there has only been one period of heavy Jewish Israeli casualties, in the second intifada (“uprising”) between 2000 and 2005. Five thousand Palestinians died, but 1,000 Jewish Israelis also died. The high cost to Israelis led to the Annapolis negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians under Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas. This genuine attempt to reach agreement on ending the occupation died when Olmert resigned from office under investigation for corruption.

It is terrible to contemplate, but if Israeli governments continue with their policies of occupation and settlement, the Palestinians might be provoked into another intifada as the only means of making the Jewish Israeli public eject their rightwing governments in order to end the occupation.

Only the EU or the US could prevent such a catastrophe by applying the necessary pressure peacefully, pre-eminently by suspending the tariff concessions they grant to Israeli exports. The heavy economic costs would make even rightwing Israelis think again.

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