Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slams EU at press event. (Photo: Amos BenGershom/Flash90 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slams EU at press event. (Photo: Amos BenGershom/Flash90
EU bias israel


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the seeming European Union bias against Israel on Thursday evening at his annual New Year event for foreign journalists at the Jerusalem Convention Center.

On Thursday morning, the EU recalled a number of Israeli envoys in reaction to an announcement on construction plans in east Jerusalem.

Netanyahu declared:

“When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors to complain about the incitement that calls for Israel’s destruction? When did the Palestinians get called in to hear complaints about the fact that security officers in the Palestinian security forces are participating in terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis. I think it’s time to stop this hypocrisy. I think it’s time to inject some balance and fairness into this discussion. Because I think this imbalance and this bias against Israel doesn’t advance peace. I think it pushes peace further away. Because it tells the Palestinians: You can basically do anything you want, say anything you want, incite any way you want, and you won’t be held accountable.”

Israel, he continued, “takes tremendous efforts to preserve the peace and fight terrorism for the benefit of both Israel and Palestinians alike, [and] it always gets criticized. That’s not good and doesn’t advance peace.”

On Friday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the EU move was “unacceptable” and an excuse to blame Israel. In turn, he summoned the British, French, Italian and Spanish ambassadors, demanding an explanation.

The claim that settlements are an obstacle to peace is “bogus,” Netanyahu said, and “adding a few houses” in existing communities “will not change the map an iota.”

Are the Palestinians seeking to create an “ethnically cleansed state?” the Israeli leader asked.

Contrary to decades-old misconceptions, he explained, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the obstacle to peace in the region, pointing to the bloodshed and instability in countries such as Syria, Yemen and Egypt.

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular, “settlements are not the issue,” he continued, reminding the journalists that Jewish communities and innocent civilians had been attacked for decades prior to 1967, when Israel liberated the territories of Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem. The issue, he asserted, has been and remains unwillingness to recognize the existence of a Jewish state – meaning the “nation-state of the Jewish people” with equal rights to members of all faiths.

Netanyahu stressed that his government is focused on maintaining freedom and security within its borders, which, in the Middle East, is unique to Israel. As far as he knows, “no journalist was killed here in 2013,” he quipped.

Netanyahu had just returned from what he said was a productive meeting with King Hussein of Jordan, where they discussed mutually beneficial security arrangements. The relationship between Jerusalem and Amman is excellent, he added.

Indeed, the king is known to be concerned about a possible takeover of the Jordan Valley by a future Palestinian state; such a scenario would pose a serious security threat to the Hashemite Kingdom, which would be in danger of infiltration by Palestinian terrorists.

The New Year reception, organized by the Government Press Office, was originally planned for December, prior to the beginning of 2014, but was postponed due to the heavy snowstorms.

Author: Atara Beck, Staff Writer, UWI
Date: Jan. 17, 2014