Liberman summons European envoys to reprimand them over anti-Israel ‘bias’
jpost.com, Jan. 17, 2014
Foreign minister calls upon British, French, Italian and Spanish ambassadors to chastise them for an apparently coordinated EU move to condemn announcement of construction of 1,400 homes in east Jerusalem.
After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused the EU of “hypocrisy” in condemning settlement construction, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman summoned on Friday the ambassadors of four European countries to admonish the move.
Britain, France, Italy and Spain called in Israeli ambassadors to hear protests against Israel’s latest announcement ofconstruction of 1,400 housing units in the major settlement blocs and Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the pre-1967 lines.
The foreign minister called upon the four states’ envoys in order to severely rebuke the ambassadors for their “he one-sided position they constantly take against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians.”
This position is “unacceptable and creates a feeling that they are only looking to place blame on Israel,” Liberman said.
In addition, Liberman insisted that the constant criticisms that the Israeli representatives in Europe receive “may have the opposite effect.”
“Israel is making great effort to allow the dialogue with the Palestinians to continue and the position these states are taking, beyond it being biased and unbalanced, is significantly harming the chances of reaching an accord,” the foreign minister said.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Netanyahu lashed out at the EU, accusing it of “hypocrisy” in condemning settlement construction, but not the Palestinians for incitement or continued terrorism.
Calling the claim that settlements are an obstacle to a peace agreement “bogus,” Netanyahu – speaking at an annual reception in Jerusalem for foreign journalists – blasted the EU move, and asked when was the last time the EU countries called in the PLO ambassadors to “complain about incitement to Israel’s destruction,” or to protest that security officers from the Palestinian Authority were participating in terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis.
“I think it’s time stop the hypocrisy and inject some fairness in the discussion,” he said, adding that the EU imbalance does not promote peace, but actually pushes it further away because “it tells the Palestinians that they can engage in incitement and terror and not be held accountable.”
Herb Keinon, Reuters and Yuval Bagno of The Postcontributed to this report.