NATO MPs to visit Israel to examine weapons R&D

By
May 19, 2013 18:47

Bayit Yehudi's Shetboun challenges NATO MPs to deal with Muslim extremists in Europe before peace talks in Israel.

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MKS Hoffman (L) Shai (C) and Chetboun at NATO conference in Luxembourg, May 19, 2013

Knesset delegation to NATO conference 370. (photo credit: Knesset Spokesman's Office)

A NATO Parliamentary Assembly committee will examine Israeli research and development in the field of security technology, MKs learned Sunday in Luxembourg.

A delegation from the assembly’s science and technology committee – led by US Congressman David Scott (D-Georgia) and UK Baroness Margaret Ramsay – will visit Israel for the first time in October.

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“The visit is an important achievement. It’s diplomatically advantageous, and can also lead to NATO member states to buy Israeli technology,” leader of the Knesset delegation to the conference MK Nachman Shai (Labor) explained.

Shai, MK Ronen Hoffman (Yesh Atid) and MK Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi) took part in the fourth-ever joint conference of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and NATO’s key decision-making body, the North Atlantic Assembly, which began Friday. Israel is a Regional Partner and Mediterranean Associate Member country in the assembly.

The science and technology committee’s visit is “a chance to emphasize our achievements in the areas that we want highlighted,” Shai added, pointing out that previous visits from NATO Parliamentary Assembly committees dealt with issues such as human rights.

According to Shai, the committee will focus on technological advancements in three important dimensions of modern warfare: anti-missile defense systems, drones and cyber-warfare.

The Labor MK added that advanced technology developed in Israel can help serve NATO member states’ goal of pooling and sharing defense resources – a topic that was discussed at the conference.

Although peace talks with the Palestinians were not on the agenda in Luxembourg, the topic arose in MKs’ conversations with legislators from other countries.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post from the conference, Chetboun recounted that a MP from Luxembourg asked him why Israel is not negotiating with the Palestinian Authority and refuses a two-state solution.

“I told him that there is an issue that is even more important for him to deal with. Muslim extremism and terrorist elements are spreading throughout Europe. Once he solves that problem, he’s welcome to talk to Israel,” the Bayit Yehudi MK said.

“He went silent,” Chetboun said. “He was used to Israelis just saying, ‘It’s complicated, we’re dealing with it,’ but I diverted the conversation.”

Chetboun took an even more aggressive stance in his comments on the exchange on his Facebook page.

“A tiny country of 480,000 people is trying to run Israel?” Chetboun asked. “Unbelievable! When Israel doesn’t stutter, the world listens and understands.”

Meanwhile, Hoffman sought out the Palestinian Legislative Council’s observer delegation present at the conference and invited its two members to tell the PA’s leadership to start peace talks.

“The sensitive regional situation requires, among other things, to return immediately to the table for negotiations to try to create a moderate and pragmatic front to go up against the radical axis led by Iran,” Hoffman said.

The Yesh Atid MK added that the Palestinians’ preconditions to negotiations are a serious obstacle to peace.


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