Tag Archives | Cyprus

Europe OK with Occupation – and With Hezbollah

Despite the recent United Nations Human Rights Council’s report, France and many other European countries are against attempts to revive the peace process, end the occupation and remove settlements. They prefer a “long-term stalemate” (which sounds like Boogie Yaalon’s “long term conflict management plan“). Outside pressure to push peace could backfire and benefit hardliners on both sides, according to European journalists interviewed recently by Reuters.

Of course, I am not talking about Israel’s occupation of parts of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine previously occupied by Jordan, but rather about Turkey’s occupation of a full-fledged EU member state.

In other European contortions, while France bombs terrorists “on the footsteps of Europe” in Mali, thousands of Hezbollah members operate openly in Europe. Their activities are now known to include bus bombing. France and other European powers have long been reluctant to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization – apparently because they only kill Jews, and most elsewhere, according to an astounding analysis in the New York Times:

There’s the overall fear if we’re too noisy about this, Hezbollah might strike again, and it might not be Israeli tourists this time,” said Sylke Tempel, editor in chief of the German foreign affairs magazine Internationale Politik.

Europe has recently been indicating that it will be pressuring Israel to take so-called risks for peace. But Europe is not unbiased, nor is its attitude towards Israel driven principally by Israel’s actions. European actors are driven by political agendas, fear, and a variety of factors. And given their fear of taking on Turkey, or even Hezbollah, they are ill placed to talk about risks for peace. [...]

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Turkey’s Settlements, the ICC, and European Vacation-makers

In a press conference recently, Mahmoud Abbas threatened to use Palestine’s G.A.-recognized “state” status to challenge Israel’s settlements in the International Criminal Court. He picked a most unlikely venue for the presser – Ankara, in a joint conference with the the Turkish president. The absurdity of this is that Turkey continues to occupy northern Cyprus, and is responsible for a massive settlement program there.

I’ve written before about “other countries’ settlements,” but one might think that an increasing discussion of Israel’s civilian communities in prosecutorial terms would increase the discusion of other (often more blatant) violations of the same international norm. Not quite.

Cyprus was a state with clear borders when Turkey invaded in 1974, and is a charter member of the ICC. If anyone should be loosing sleep over settlements suits in the ICC, it would be Turkey. Interestingly, no one has suggested in the past decade that Cyprus’s ICC membership would scare the Turks out of N. Cyprus, or get the Turks to agree to a peace deal). But a referral by Cyprus would not face the various thorny temporality and territoriality issues of a Palestinian complaint. Moreover, Cyprus is a particularly gross case of changing the demographics of occupied territory through settlement, with settlers now outnumbering protected persons n the territory.

Apart from the manifest hypocrisy, what should be disappointing for believers in international humanitarian law is the failure of anyone to call Abbas (or Erdogan) on it. I am not aware of any news, NGO, or governmental response pointing out the unseemliness of Abbas invoking the ICC from Ankara.

But it turns out that Europeans have for the past decade taken a different kind of interest in the Turkish occupation, as Dore Gold reports. Priced out of the French Riviera and Amalfi [...]

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