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So what does Europe want, exactly?

All I hear from most Europeans is how awful it is that the terrible Israelis are cruelly occupying and oppressing the poor, hapless Palestinians. Naively, then, I would have assumed that the EU would welcome an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories.

Well, I guess it's just not that simple. Must be my American, cowboy simplisme failing to grasp the nuance of my cultural betters. Apparently, withdrawal is only desirable if it's done exactly how and when the EU says it should be done (emphasis mine.)

In the only statement he was willing to make on the record last Wednesday, in his spacious office in EU headquarters in Brussels, the Spanish statesman said that he expects the government of Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to invite PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) for political negotiations. Even after the Hamas victory in the parliamentary elections, and perhaps because of the victory, Solana considers Abu Mazen a lifeline for the political process.

In order to learn his opinion about the alternative -- unilateral steps -- he suggests perusing the situation analysis that he presented to the members of the European Parliament two weeks ago. Solana told them that the most worrisome thing about the peace process is that the Israeli elections indicate a strengthening of the desire for separation and a lack of willingness to speak to the Palestinians about the borders.

"That is not a solution for someone who, like us, supports negotiations," he said.

Solana did not make do with general declarations condemning unilateral steps that are liable to undermine a two-state solution. He announced that the EU intends to follow developments in the field closely, mainly in East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, even after the construction of the fence. As he also told Olmert, he expects Israel to transfer to the PA all the tax money it has collected for them.

"This is Palestinian money," he said.

So I guess unless Israel enters into negotiations with a group dedicated to its own destruction, a group that even most European nations recognize as a terrorist organization, Europe wants the brutal occupation to continue. Sometimes nuance can be hard to follow.


"That is not a solution for someone who, like us, supports negotiations," he said.

Guess it doesn't matter what actually happens; It's the negotiations that count.

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