The push for European support in blocking a Palestinian move for UN recognition
of statehood in September is moving into high gear, with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu scheduled to make two trips to eastern Europe in the coming
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Netanyahu is scheduled to go to Romania and Bulgaria in two weeks,
and then to Poland and Hungary. These countries are considered to be among
Israel’s strongest supporters in Europe, and the prime minister’s visits are
aimed at strengthening and reinforcing these relationships.
Hungary were among the 18 countries (seven of them from the EU) that voted with
Israel in November 2009 against the General Assembly resolution to adopt the
Goldstone Commission report on Operation Cast Lead. Romania and Bulgaria were
two of the 15 EU countries and 44 overall that abstained.
officials have said Israel is seeking a “critical minority” of 60 democratic
countries to vote against the statehood proposal, thereby diminishing its moral
Netanyahu’s trip to Romania and Bulgaria will come fast on
the heels of a visit to Italy he will make on Sunday and Monday along with a
number of his ministers for an annual joint cabinet meeting.
Israeli Independence Day celebration last month in Rome, Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi said Italy would not support a unilateral Palestinian bid for
Israel recently initiated annual joint cabinet meetings with
Germany and Poland, signaling strong bilateral relationships with those
countries as well.
In a related development, German Foreign Minister
Guido Westerwelle is expected in Israel next week for a series of meetings. His
visit will come just a week after German Chancellor Angela Merkel made clear in
Washington on Tuesday, during a meeting with President Barack Obama, that
Germany – like the US – is opposed to the PA statehood bid.