STRASBOURG, France (Oct. 14)
The Temple Mount violence has undone Israel’s successful effort less than a month ago to repair its long-strained relations with the 12-nation European Community.
The Parliament of Europe, the E.C.’s legislative body, voted overwhelmingly last Thursday to hold the Israeli government “solely responsible for the loss of human life” when police fired on 3,000 rioting Palestinians in Jerusalem on Oct. 8, killing 21 of them.
In addition to the resolution, described as the strongest condemnation of Israel ever adopted by the Parliament, the delegates reimposed a series of punitive measures pending against Israel, which the E.C. foreign ministers and the European Commission had agreed to suspend after Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy met with them in Brussels on Sept. 17.
Sources on the commission, which is the E.C.’s executive body, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the sanctions “will be applied, and this will take place as soon as legally possible.”
The Parliament is expected to consider a new set of even harsher sanctions against Israel as soon as the international confrontation with Iraq in the Persian Gulf is resolved.
New sanctions might have been voted at this time but for the efforts of the Liberal faction, led by Simone Veil of France, a Jewish Holocaust survivor and former president of the Parliament.
The Liberals were successful in postponing new sanctions. But they were forced to withdraw their less severe resolution censuring Israel for the Temple Mount shootings and voted with the majority for the harshly worded draft.
JUNE SANCTIONS REVIVED
The sanctions Israel now faces were adopted by the Parliament on June 14 in response to what it called the “bloody repression of Palestinian civilians” in the Israeli-administered territories.
The essentially economic measures remained inoperative because they were not immediately ratified by the E.C. Council of Ministers.
Levy convinced the E.C. ministers last month to shelve them indefinitely. He added to his diplomatic success by prevailing on the Europeans to renew negotiations for further economic and scientific cooperation with Israel, which had been suspended last year.
The E.C. ministers approved a previously postponed trip to Israel by the E.C. commissioner in charge of external affairs, Abel Matutes. They also refrained from raising the issue of sending an E.C. diplomatic representative to Jerusalem to monitor conditions in the administered territories.
Those achievements now have evaporated in the heat of new anger toward Israel. The scientific cooperation has been abandoned, at least for the time being.
The European Commission will proceed with its earlier plan to appoint a special ambassador to Jerusalem to oversee human rights. Matutes’ visit will be canceled, and a scheduled Israel-European economic seminar will be scrapped.