Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged Europe to adopt a more balanced approach
to Israel during a conversation held on Monday in Jerusalem with European
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, according to an official who was in
Netanyahu spoke warmly about the close ties between Israel
and Europe and the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
But he also
questioned Europe’s political positions when it comes to Israel.
Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror, who was also at the meeting, said he was
concerned by the lack of balance when it came to Europe’s stance on Palestinian
rocket fire from Gaza compared to its statements about vandalism against West
Bank mosques, said the official.
Amidror recalled an incident in which he
received a phone call from a senior European official who said that the mosque
incidents were of grave concern to the EU, the same day that Palestinians fired
scores of rockets at the South. But the pressing issue for Europe that day was
not the rocket fire, but the mosques, he said, according to the official in the
meeting. On that same day, EU ambassadors also called the Foreign Ministry about
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) also spoke with
Barroso about the disproportionate manner in which Israel is treated at the
United Nations Human Rights Council. He took issue with Friday’s UNHRC
appointment of a three-member panel to probe Israeli settlement activity,
particularly in light of the violence by the Syrian government against its
He noted that Syria wants to seek UNHRC membership. He called
on Europe and the United States to cut its ties with the council, as Israel did
Rivlin warned Barroso that those who believe that the
settlements are a cancer have fallen prey to anti-Israel
“The truth is simple: When the Palestinians want peace there
will be peace. Neither the settlements, nor their evacuation, constitute an
obstacle to peace,” Rivlin told him.
Barroso told Rivlin that settlement
activity makes life difficult for the Palestinians and does not advance
During Barroso’s meeting with Netanyahu he called on Israel and
the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations, which have been frozen since
“I really think it is a good moment to restart some hope
regarding the so-called Middle East peace process,” Barroso said.
meeting with Netanyahu followed those he held Sunday in Ramallah with
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and in Jericho with PA
President Mahmoud Abbas.