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Emet m'Tsiyon

Monday, August 15, 2016

Do They Really Care about Occupation? More on EU & USA Attitudes towards Cyprus

We took up the same question a while ago. The European Union is not against occupation as such. It is against Israel. But how about the United States? President Obama constantly tells Israelis that his intentions for Israel are better than those of Israel's own leaders. Does he want peace for Israel? How about previous presidents? That requires a whole essay. So let's hold the question in abeyance for a while. Yet we will keep on using the Cyprus Question, the occupation of about 35% of the island by Turkey since 1974, and the consequent flight/expulsion of some 200,000 Greek Cypriots from the northern Turkish-occupied zone of the island.

Although Cyprus has been a member of the EU since 2004 the EU does not side with or work with the government of Cyprus to end the occupation. Indeed, it collaborates with that occupation while doing pro forma acts to indicate that it considers northern Cyprus occupied and that some solution should be found for the Cyprus Question. However, we would like to highlight here some expressions of the American attitude toward the Cyprus Question and the Greek-Turkish conflict, as well as the Greek-Turkish relationship in general.
In 1974, the US  State Department was not vocal in opposing the Turkish invasion. Moreover, the well-connected American "charity" and "peace" and "humanitarian" body, the American Friends Service Committee, an offshoot of the Quaker Church (the Society of Friends) appointed as its Middle East Field Representative John "Jack" Horner, who was living in what he described to me in 1975 as Girne, a city in the Turkish occupation zone, which the Greeks traditionally call Kyrenia. Apparently, he had no qualms about living in occupied territory and using the occupying power's name for an occupied town from which the Greeks had been driven out. By the way, Horner was a veteran of 29 years in the State Department, many of those years in Saudi Arabia.

In 1997, the prestigious world affairs commentator of the International Herald Tribune (something of a house organ for the views of the Washington foreign policy establishment) expressed great resentment in one of his columns that I am now looking at, over Greek endeavors "to thwart Turkish efforts to draw closer to the EU and eventually join it." For Mr Reginald Dale, it was of paramount importance to keep Turkey happy, lest it be pushed "into the arms of the turbulent Middle East." Indeed, Turkey's "ultimate place should be within a united Europe's economic and security perimeter, inside both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] and the EU." The occupation of northern Cyprus by Turkey is not at all mentioned in Dale's commentary. Indeed, the word occupation does not appear in the commentary at all. Dale instead refers to "the Cyprus problem" and "the long-running conflict over Cyprus between Greece and Turkey" as well as "the still-festering dispute over Cyprus."
However, Dale has a solution. The EU must take "a much tougher line toward Athens" [International Herald Tribune, 31 October 1997].

Notice that Dale makes no demand that Turkey end its occupation forthwith --or later-- or make concessions to the Greek Cypriots. For Mr Reginald Dale, respected journalist with the IHT, owned by the New York Times, the occupation is no problem at all. And it isn't even an occupation. It is merely a "conflict over Cyprus between" two sides.

Around the same time, US diplomat, Richard Holbrooke, sent to mediate between the opposing sides on Cyprus, also showed his favoritism for the Turks. He argued that the refusal of the EU to accept Turkey as a candidate for membership had led to a temporary --but serious-- dead end in talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots to resolve the dispute [Ma`ariv, 5 May 1998 from Deutsche Presse Agentur; also Milliyet 5 May 1998]. Now, on the surface Holbrooke is blaming the EU for failure of his mediating mission. But why is the EU to blame? Because it won't give Turkey candidate status --as of May 1998-- for the EU. He has nothing to say about the Turkish occupation and does not use the word. He does not say that he is trying to "end the occupation" which is what Israel hears from a wide variety of Western politicians and diplomats. Why no talk of "ending the occupation" on Cyprus which would "let the refugees go home," which are other slogans that Israel hears from diplomats? Anyhow, by 2005 the EU had begun negotiations with Turkey with a view towards eventual Turkish EU membership. These negotiations began without Turkey ending its occupation of northern Cyprus.

It is obvious that there are occupations and "occupations" and these situations do not matter to the politicians or, if you like, the statesmen, or the diplomats. What they hate is not the alleged occupation but Israel. Given that what really moves them is hatred for Israel, not for occupation, one can easily imagine that they are not above inventing an "occupation" status for Judea-Samaria. Maybe their hatred for Jews and Israel makes it easy for them to find up to date reasons for hating Jews and Israel.

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