Four Star Chutzpah**** UPDATE

The European Union and some of its member nations have long grumbled about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Desultory efforts to object have often fallen to the wayside. Now the EU has decided to enforce a 2005 trade agreement (signed by former PM Ehud Olmert) barring West Bank settlement products from taking advantage of Israeli customs exemptions to member nations. To this stipulation, which is to be enforced in 2014, the EU will now add the requirement that all agreements between Israel and the EU state that the area beyond the green line is "occupied territory." The details at Ha'aretz.

Of course, the Israelis object. But what is their primary argument at this point: PM Benjamin Netanyahu, King of Chutzpah, objects that  It will undermine Secretary of State John Kerry in his effort to revive the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Times story.

Really? The peace talks that are going nowhere will be undermined by an EU rule to go into effect next January? Is that the only obstacle?

UPDATE:  As the world turns! The EU implemented its old and new rules today on the Occupied Territories in the West Bank. And rather than undermining Kerry's peace efforts, it appears that many Israeli right-wingers have seized upon them as the lesser of two evils. Read the analysis of Ha'aretz blogger Chemi Shalev.

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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