World

The War Is Shifting Europe’s Politics Away From Israel

In Europe, long a vital source of support for Israel, the political center of gravity is moving away from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Spain, Ireland and Norway on Wednesday recognized Palestinian statehood, despite vehement Israeli and American opposition. And most European governments offered unequivocal support to the International Criminal Court this week, after it requested arrest warrants for Israel’s prime minister and defense minister, along with leaders of Hamas.

Israel still has staunch allies within the European Union, especially Hungary and the Czech Republic, and key players like Germany, despite growing discomfort with Israel’s conduct, have not shown any inclination to alter their stance. The growing fissures within Europe mean that the consensus-driven European Union will not change its positions any time soon.

But European countries face rising international and domestic pressure to take a firmer stand against Israel’s handling of the Palestinian territories, and particularly the devastating war in Gaza.

Among European Union members, Sweden has for a decade stood alone in recognizing Palestinian statehood. Europe has long supported the eventual creation of a Palestinian state — the “two-state solution” that Israel’s government steadfastly opposes — and voiced frustration with Israel’s handling of the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, but most nations have been unwilling to go further.

Instead, the European Union, before the war, was moving closer to Israel, including through financially and politically important partnerships in trade and science.

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