In an apparent attempt to reach out to Israelis who are opposed to the US-brokered talks between Israel and the Palestinians, US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to meet with victims of Arab terrorism from the Almagor organization on one of his upcoming trips to Israel.
According to Almagor head Meir Indor, US officials this week promised the meeting would take place. Indor said he wanted Kerry to see the victims of terrorism and their families so he would understand their plight.
US officials have also been meeting with right-wing MKs and leaders of organizations over the past two weeks. For instance, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro has met family members of terrorism victims from Almagor and with coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud).
At Shapiro’s request, he will meet in two weeks with the Knesset’s Land of Israel Caucus, which is headed by Levin and Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck. Struck was the first MK to heckle European Parliament President Martin Schultz during his address to the Knesset on Wednesday.
Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett defended his faction on Thursday for walking out of the speech, saying that now world leaders would be more careful with what they say in Israel. But Labor faction chairman Eitan Cabel warned that world leaders would stop coming to the Knesset due to the way Bennett’s MKs treated Schulz.
During his speech, Schulz criticized the blockade of the Gaza Strip and Jewish settlements in the West Bank. His remarks regarding the consumption of water allowed to Palestinians was what set off the angry responses by some Knesset members.
Schulz defended his speech in interviews with the German media on Thursday.
“At the Knesset I was required to explain the stance of the European Parliament,” he told De Welt. “Obviously I can’t just say things that please everybody. I’m also obliged to express contested matters. I was surprised and affected by the harsh reaction I received after giving a pro-Israel speech. The people who interfered with my speech belong to the hard-liners who criticize and respond in this fashion to every critical word that bothers them.”
Andreas Berggren contributed to this report.