Europe’s Double Standards Come Back to Haunt It

In January, Margot Wallstrom, Sweden’s foreign minister, called for an investigation into incidents where Israeli security forces have shot Palestinian terrorists in the midst of committing acts of murder. Tom Wilson wonders if she will make similar calls regarding French and German police:

Yesterday, when an . . . Islamic State devotee in Germany began attacking commuters on a busy train, he was quickly shot and killed by security. Similarly, the horrific truck attack last week in Nice was brought to an end only when the French police shot and killed Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who also appears to have been linked with IS. . . .

[T]he question is not whether Wallstrom’s comments about Israel were acceptable; we already knew that they were not. Rather, the question here is whether the Swedish foreign ministry is going to be consistent because a standard has now been set. As such, Margot Wallstrom has a choice on her hands. Either she can come out and call for equivalent investigations into the actions of the German and French police—and provoke popular and diplomatic fury from across Europe—or she could not hold European countries to the same standard she holds Israel to and, in doing so, confirm that she operates a bigoted and discriminatory attitude toward the Jewish state.

When Wallstrom made her comments in January, many will have assumed the latter to be the case. But if she cares to, recent events have now provided her with an opportunity to prove otherwise.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Car intifada, Europe and Israel, Islamic State, Israel & Zionism, Sweden, Terrorism

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood