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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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‘Occupied Territories’: What about Cyprus, Kashmir, Tibet?

This latest decision tells us nothing about Israel or the West Bank. But it tells us what we need to know about the EU.
The crumbling buildings of the Varosha district of Famagusta, Cyprus, photographed in 2009. The area lies within Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus. The inhabitants fled during the 1974 Turkish invasion and the district has been abandoned since then. (Source: WikiMedia Commons)

The crumbling buildings of the Varosha district of Famagusta, Cyprus, photographed in 2009. The area lies within Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus. The inhabitants fled during the 1974 Turkish invasion and the district has been abandoned since then.
Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

What about Cyprus? That is just one of the questions that Israelis and Europeans should be pondering now that the European Union has again decided that it should dictate Israeli border and security policy.

Last week the European Union issued a ban on funding of, or cooperation with, any Israeli institutions that are shown to operate in what it calls the “occupied territories” – meaning the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria. Never mind that — as Palestinian groups have already admitted — the ban will affect Palestinians as much as Israelis. In its perpetual rush to find new double-standards to enforce, the EU has rushed straight in, regardless.

As one senior Palestinian Authority official said on the announcement of the news, many Palestinians in Ramallah and elsewhere will be just as affected by the EU’s decision as their Israeli neighbors. The senior PA official was quoted saying:

“For our part, we approached a number of [European] Union officials, in the [Palestinian] Authority and also in Israel, to try and prevent the decision or at least to keep it unofficial,” said the official, who declined to give his name. “It’s not just Israeli companies that are going to be hit economically, it’s also going to be disastrous economically and socially for the Palestinian community.”

Well what are a few Palestinians to the EU’s persistent drive to isolate the Jewish state? Tolerable collateral damage, surely?

But what about Cyprus? After all, there are many countries in the world with border disputes. There is at least one major one on China’s borders [Tibet]. And there is the rather famous one which borders Pakistan [Kashmir]. Border disputes are hardly unusual. Similar stories abound all over the world, such as the unresolved dispute involving Morocco over the status of the Western Sahara. Yet all these countries are ones with which the EU has full, if not fawning, diplomatic and trade relations.

Of course, what makes the EU’s latest double-standard even more delicious is that the occupied island of Cyprus is actually a member of the EU. As such, shouldn’t it surely command the most detailed and persistent attention from the international body?

Yet this is not so. The northern part of Cyprus has been illegally annexed for the last four decades by Turkey. It is not as though Turkey shares a border with the island. Nor does it have — as Israel has with the West Bank — any legitimate historical, political or other territorial claims on the northern part of the island. There is no security reason for Turkey to sustain its occupation, as there is an obvious need for Israel to have defensible borders that do not permit terrorists from the West Bank to fire rockets into Israel, as do its friends in post-disengagement Gaza or southern Lebanon.

But unlike Israel and the West Bank, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus is not even a disputed matter. It was certainly not some understandable territorial gain made after aggressive war waged by Greece. It was outright theft — an annexation: state terrorism. The entire international community recognizes it as such. Yet in 2013 not only is Turkey not an enemy of the EU, and not only is it a country which enjoys complete diplomatic and trade relations with the EU, it is a country which many leading members and officials of the EU actually want to promote into a full member-state of the EU.

Into the fifth decade of Turkish occupation of Cyprus, there is still no serious dictating by the EU to Turkey over what it must do about northern Cyprus. Turkey does not find itself under even the most remote international pressure finally to disengage from its illegal occupation of the northern part of Cyprus. And that is because for some inexplicable reason the EU does not consider it imperative that Turkey should disengage from the illegal occupation of an EU member state. It does not consider that the future of any region depends on this action. Yet it does persist, even now, with its view that it can dictate to Israel about its borders. And that it can have a constructive role in doing so. Of all the fallacies of the EU, that is surely the topmost.

The EU does not only have a wrong-headed view of Israel’s past, it has a wholly misguided view of its future.

Today Israel is at the very bottom of the list of countries of concern, even in its own neighborhood, let alone the wider world, with nearly 100,000 dead in Syria and Egypt going through a counter-counter revolution, and with the Sunni-Shiite conflict looking likely to reach one of its intermittent boiling points as the Shiite armies of Hezbollah clash with the Sunni-armed opposition in Syria. Amid all this, the issue of where Jews should or should not live inside their historical homeland is a matter of the lowest international import.

Yet the EU — which always likes to think of itself as such a forward-looking organization — is once again showing itself to be stuck in a wrong-headed and bigoted past. It is not Israel which is the problem in the Middle East. Today Israel is, in fact, about the only non-problem in the region.

Yet it is this country’s sovereignty upon which the EU decides time and time again that it can intrude. This latest decision tells us nothing about Israel or the West Bank. But it tells us what we need to know about the EU.

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20 Responses to “‘Occupied Territories’: What about Cyprus, Kashmir, Tibet?”

  1. The difference? To them? They cannot accept Jews. It is not part of their genetics and never will be.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The EU is a farce, they don't like each other.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What about Turkey has a intention to intervine again in Cyprus becouse the oil and natural gas issue, that is why the EU wants Turkey to be member state?, is that a coincidence?

  4. My beliefs regarding this so called peace plan is that for Israel to offer or be persuaded to offer land for peace is equivalent to an immoral compromise with evil. It would be an act of bald faced doubt of the word of God and his promises and not merely an appeasement with those who would take God’s land; but an act that knowingly gives the enemy of God military positions for their future use that they will doubtlessly use in the time to come. There is no excuse for any nations leaders including Israel’s and the United States for entering any agreement of this sort. Over the years I have prayed as a Christian for the peace of Israel and for the peace of all of the nations of the middle east. I have prayed that they would make peace without attempting to steal from God, but to date I am sad to say that those prayers have not come back with positive pronouncements on mans designs for God’s land. With conditions as they are in this day and age, I believe I can state that soon our time to pray for or talk to or give aid to the nations of the middle east as a Christian are coming to a close. Those who doubt the soon approach of the rapture should doubt no more. I wrote a small 6 page book that outlines what I believe the Bible states will take place soon as well as the potential trends I see at this time. I don’t accept donations and it’s free. It’s a short read. I encourage you to have a look: http://www.booksie.com/religion_and_spirituality/book/richard_b_barnes/after-the-rapture-whats-next.

  5. Noah Farbstein says:

    Not only the above, but Turkey, unlike Israel, is in clear violation of the Geneva Convention, specifically Article 49. This is because Turkey forced the eviction of Greek Cypriots from, and transfered 50,000 Turks to the Northern part of the Island, which currently is under its illegal occupation.

    Further, this illegal military occupation of Northern Cyprus is in violation of the UN Security Council.

    Yet, as mentioned in the article, the UN is considering making Turkey a member. Go figure!

  6. John Lewis says:

    And what about Kurdistan, which is divided up among 4 countries – Irak, Syria, Turkey and Iran? And who were responsible for this? Britain & France, part of the EU.

  7. The issue here is Not just for Cyprus , but All the territory they illegally and forcefully taken including what is Now most of Turkey. Thank You.

  8. Jews critiziing others to justify there stolen country Israel.

  9. Jews critiziing others to justify there stolen country Israel.

  10. North Cyprus has a democratically elected government voted by Turkish Cypriot citizens. Turkey is a guarantor power for the Turkish community in Cyprus as stated in the UN 1960 constitution. Don't mix Cyprus with your dirty Jewish politics.

  11. Yechiel Baum says:

    How about Kurdistan, Armenia, USA for the NAtive Americans and Mexico, and Cnada.

  12. Noah Farbstein says:

    Feridun Ergin Huseyin. As a 'good' muslim you clearly are practiced at the art of deception.

    The fact is that in 1960 the three Guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and Britain) promised to prohibit the promotion of either the union of the Republic of Cyprus with any other State, or the partition of the Island. A ccording to constitutional arrangements, Cyprus was to become an independent, non-aligned republic with a Greek Cypriot president and a Turkish Cypriot vice-president.

    Turkey's invasion and forced population transfer is in clear violation to Geneva IV and the UN Security council.

    On the Contrary, the Jews have clear historical and religios ties, which have remained unbroken for over 3,000 years, and legal rights to Israel. These facts are indisputable, even by someone like you who wishes to re-write history on this link.

  13. Yiorgos K Kakouris says:

    As a Cypriot I've heard countless iterations of the "if someone can be shown to be having double standards then they shouldn't apply these standards to anyone". And I've heard it countless times because it's a favorite argument among people that do not want to be criticized, ever.
    I wonder if the author would be ok with the EU's decision if the EU was consistent in its approach to other occupations in the neighborhood and around the world. This is an empty rhetorical argument if ever I heard one.

  14. Noah Farbstein You are poorly informed about the history of Cyprus or maybe its a pro Greek – anti Turkish thing? its common Jewish practice at the moment we Turks understand! But the truth is A UN Resolution 186 was passed on 4 March 1964 as part of the UN's commitment to end the violence in Cyprus instigated by the Greek Cypriots during their bloody coup in December 1963. Unfortunately, this badly worded Resolution referred to working with the "Government of Cyprus", which at that time was 100% staffed by Greek Cypriots. Greek Cypriots have used this to assert themselves as the sole "legitimate" authority on the island, even though this contradicts with the 1960 Constitution of Cyprus where both Turkish and Greek Cypriots are politically equal. The passing of this Resolution marked the start of four decades of embargoes on Turkish Cypriots who refused to accept their constitutional rights being usurped.

  15. Alex J Nimmo says:

    At the border in Cyprus, are there rockets being fired? Very much agree with Yiorgos K Kakouris

  16. Noah Farbstein You are poorly informed about the history of Cyprus or maybe its a pro Greek – anti Turkish thing? its common Jewish practice at the moment we Turks understand! But the truth is A UN Resolution 186 was passed on 4 March 1964 as part of the UN's commitment to end the violence in Cyprus instigated by the Greek Cypriots during their bloody coup in December 1963. Unfortunately, this badly worded Resolution referred to working with the "Government of Cyprus", which at that time was 100% staffed by Greek Cypriots. Greek Cypriots have used this to assert themselves as the sole "legitimate" authority on the island, even though this contradicts with the 1960 Constitution of Cyprus where both Turkish and Greek Cypriots are politically equal. The passing of this Resolution marked the start of four decades of embargoes on Turkish Cypriots who refused to accept their constitutional rights being usurped.

  17. Noah Farbstein says:

    Yiorgos K Kakouris. Firstly, as you write, such criticism by the EU of Israel and not the other REAL occupiers, like Turkey, is a "Double standard." That is plain and simple.

    However, what makes the EU decision worse, and what I believe was the crux of the article, is that Israel, unlike Turkey in Cypres, is NOT an occupier as the Jews have clear historical and religios ties, which have remained unbroken for over 3,000 years, and legal rights to Israel.

    Further, Israel, as the only middle east democracy (at leasty that works) not only is very critical of itself, but welcomes the opinions of others.

    So, what exactly is your point? Do you have one other than to say that the term "Double Standard" should not apply in regard to Israel?

  18. Michael Do you justify the invasion of America by Christians who slaughtered over 25 million native Indians to make way for white settlers such as Jews?

  19. John lewis do you justify the invasion of America by Christians who slaughtered over 25 million native Indians to make way for white settlers such as Jews who have never looked back or dream of living in Israel. The USA is a great country but its stolen terrortry with millions of Jewish settlers? a lot more than Turks in northern Cyprus?

  20. Noah Farbstein says:

    Yiorgos K Kakouris. Firstly, as you write, such criticism by the EU of Israel and not the other REAL occupiers, like Turkey, is a "Double standard." That is plain and simple.

    However, what makes the EU decision worse, and what I believe was the crux of the article, is that Israel, unlike Turkey in Cypres, is NOT an occupier as the Jews have clear historical and religios ties, which have remained unbroken for over 3,000 years, and legal rights to Israel.

    Further, Israel, as the only middle east democracy (at leasty that works) not only is very critical of itself, but welcomes the opinions of others.

    So, what exactly is your point? Do you have one other than to say that the term "Double Standard" should not apply only in regard to Israel?

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