It has been six months now since Obama became the President of the United States and his administration has yet to come up with a strict policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Obama administration has only pressured Israel to stop building settlements. However, Netanyahu’s government has ignored this pressure.
The European Union has remained silent so far, leaving its foreign policy toward the Middle East unstable and ambiguous, with no statements to clarify the region's opinions about the building of settlements and the Israeli occupation. In this context, Britain has allegedly stated that London intends to stop shipping British weapons to Israel, but Israel later refuted this statement. This alone is currently regarded as an unofficial European position with regards to Israel's behavior even though it is not as comprehensive as a unified European opinion about the entirety of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, if proven to be true, it could determine the outcome of the Israeli war on Gaza and its exploitation of banned weapons.
It is apparent to everyone that the European opinion will always remain in the shadow of the American one. It was obvious during George Bush’s presidency that his administration was significantly biased in favor of Israeli policies and even offered its support for the efforts of Ariel Sharon’s administration to build settlements. It is worth mentioning that the former administration initiated a slow and negative process to begin negotiating for peace only very late in its tenure. Regardless, Europe simply backed America financially, avoiding the political buzz and clearing the way for Israel to expand its settlement building efforts into the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Even though media and diplomatic sources always refer to the political activities of some European capitals as expressions of conservative opinions with regards to Israel’s actions, their shy response is not proportional, given the cruelty of Israeli actions taken against Palestinians. It is obvious that Europe is hesitant to take a position independent of the U.S., take more forceful action or even openly criticize the settlement building all over the West Bank, including Jerusalem.
We are all aware of the importance of the opinions of European nations in addition to those of America. Right now, there is a desperate need for a comprehensive European position that is invested in peace and ending the Israeli occupation and expansion of settlements. This must consider both financial and economic dimensions of the conflict.