Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a special Knesset session marking 40 years since Anwar Sadat's address to Israeli parliament. .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to tell the 28 EU foreign ministers in Brussels in two weeks that they should ask their people whether they want all that Israel has to offer – anti-terrorism expertise and technology – or Ramallah.
Netanyahu, who over the last year has raised with every visiting EU foreign minister his desire to address all 28 ministers at one of their monthly meetings, received a formal invitation on Tuesday to do just that.
According to a senior diplomatic official, Netanyahu is expected to tell the European leaders that their obsessive focus on the settlements is “ridiculous;” remind them that the Arab-Israeli conflict predated the settlements by 50 years; and say that 85% of the settlements are in the settlement blocs that “everyone knows will be part of Israel.”
In addition, the official said, Netanyahu will say, “We in Israel are the future. We will bring you water, technology and security against terrorists. We have blocked 30 to 40 major attacks in Europe. You ask your people whether they would rather have that or Ramallah.”
Although these are messages that Netanyahu has repeated numerous times, the official said the statements will have a greater impact when said directly at the heart of the EU in Brussels.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini issued a statement Tuesday saying she decided to invite Netanyahu for an “informal exchange of views with ministers in the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, 11 December 2017, in Brussels.”
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She said the meeting will “be an opportunity to discuss issues of common concern, such as the Middle East peace process, bilateral relations and regional issues.”
Netanyahu will be the first Israeli prime minister to address the body. EU President Donald Tusk is scheduled to visit Israel five days earlier.
One Israeli diplomatic official said he was “surprised” that the Europeans agreed to host Netanyahu at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
“He has raised it with every European foreign minister he has met over the last year,” the official said. “They were stand-offish, saying they weren’t sure they could do it. The fact that it is happening is significant.”
The official said Netanyahu is keen on meeting the ministers in order to break the automatic majority against Israel at the UN and in international forums, such as the EU, which often votes as a bloc.
Netanyahu, the official said, has made breaking the automatic majority at the UN one of his top foreign policy priorities, not because the anti-Israel resolutions at the UN cause him to “lose any sleep,” but because he sees these resolutions as a “strategic threat” since they could be used as a basis of action against Israel at the International Criminal Court.
Netanyahu himself has said that breaking the automatic majority is one of the reasons for his focus on improving ties with Africa
The official acknowledged that going to Brussels and “standing up” to the Europeans will also politically “look good over here.”