Characterizing Israeli-European ties as important on many different levels,
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon offered an olive branch to the EU Sunday,
just days after outgoing foreign minister Avigdor Liberman slammed Europe for
what he said were biased polices toward Israel.
“Israel-Europe ties are
very important on a strategic, political, economic and cultural level, and
therefore we should have a serious and intensive – but not public – dialogue,”
Ayalon said at a meeting with EU Middle East envoy Andreas
Ayalon, who Liberman unceremoniously left off the joint Likud
for the upcoming elections, said Israel would continue to engage in
quiet diplomacy with the EU to work out all the issues on their joint
“There are more things we have in common than that separates us,”
Liberman slammed the Europeans in two public speeches last
week, making comparisons in one between the behavior of certain EU countries now
and their actions during the Holocaust, and saying at The Jerusalem Post’s
Diplomatic Conference that many world leaders would be willing to sacrifice
Israel instantly to appease radical Islamists and buy themselves
Ayalon told Reinicke that Israel was disappointed with how the EU
voted on November 29 on the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN General
Assembly, with the Czech Republic being the only EU state opposing the matter.
He also said Jerusalem was disappointed with the EU’s “disproportionate”
reaction to Israel’s announcement of plans to construct some 3,000 units in east
Jerusalem and the settlement blocs, and to further the planning of the E1
section linking Jerusalem to Ma’aleh Adumim.
The EU’s positions on these
matters were “counterproductive” and gave the Palestinians “more of a reason to
do whatever they want, and feel they can get away with it,” Ayalon
In an apparent effort to explain to Ayalon why the EU reacted so
strongly and with such anger to Israel’s announcement of its settlement plans,
Reinicke indicated that the EU viewed a two-state solution as being in its own
security interests, and would forcefully oppose anything that seemed to obstruct
achieving that goal.
Reinicke, who has kept a very low profile since
taking his post in January, meets with Israeli officials about once every three
Even though Liberman resigned, and by law Ayalon – as deputy
foreign minister – must leave with him, the Prime Minister’s Office announced
Sunday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will inform the Knesset, which is
to sit in special session in the coming days, that he intends to extend Ayalon’s
tenure until a new government is formed following the January 22
This move is being taken with Liberman’s consent.