Friday, July 21, 2017

EU Relations with Israel need to be repaired.

From The Times, 21 July 2017, by David Charter:

Bibi at a Budapest synagogue

Benjamin Netanyahu was recorded attacking the EU’s “crazy” insistenc­e on resolving the conflict with the Palestinians as a condition for closer ties with Israel ...during his meeting with the leaders of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

“There is no logic here,” he said of EU policy.

“Europe is undermining its secur­ity by undermining Israel.

‘‘Europe is undermining its progress by undermining the connection with Israeli innovation because of a crazy attempt to create­ conditions (for peace with the Palestinians). It’s crazy. I think it’s actually crazy.”

European ties with Israel would determine whether the bloc would “thrive or disappear”, he said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is hosting the meeting, gave assurances on behal­f of the four countries that they would press Brussels to work more closely with Israel.

This was another sign of divergence between western and eastern Europe, which fell out over EU demands for all countries to take in refugees.

Relations between the EU and Israel have been tense for years. Israel feels that Brussels criticises its policies while being too soft on the Palestinians.

The bloc is Israel’s main trading partner but relations have soured since November 2015, when Brussels began to label products made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The EU does not recognise Israe­li sovereignty over territories it captured in the 1967 war.

After the meeting in Budapest, Mr Orban called for Europe to change tack, with better ties and less criticism of Israel. “The EU should value the efforts made by the state of Israel for stability in the region,” he said. “Relations with Israel are not rational enough and need to be repaired.” ...