Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman chastised Europe on Monday for its hyper-focus on Israeli building over the Green Line, while it ignored the violence that raged in other countries in the region.
“Every day hundreds of people are killed and slaughtered around Israel. We are facing many challenges, more than all of the EU together,” he said.
Europe, he said, “is disregarding this reality.”
“We are trying to survive in a very difficult reality and instead of supporting Israel, you blame Israel every day,” Liberman said.
He spoke in Jerusalem during a joint press conference with Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard.
A reporter asked Liberman if Israel planned to change its policies in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in light of European frustration over its settlement activity.
European officials and diplomats, the reporter said, “are coming to give you advice. What they hope is that Israel through this friendly advice would change its policies.”
Liberman reacted to the question with anger, explaining that such European advice was “hypocritical.”
Europe is not offering the same type of “advice” to Pakistan and India, even though a comprehensive peace is needed there, Liberman said.
In light of the complex situation in the region, with violence in Iraq, Syria, Yemin and Libya he expected Europe to be more “sensitive” to Israel’s “security concerns,” Liberman said.
Israel is the only country, in a tumultuous region, where control reigns, in spite of constant friction and tension with the Palestinians, Liberman said.
“Your [Europe’s] approach to Israel is exactly like the approach of Europe to Czechoslovakia in 1938,” said Liberman as he quoted an often used example of Europe failure to protect that former country from Nazi Germany.
Israel, he said, is the only democratic country in the Middle East.
“Every day you are coming with new pressure. It is a mistake. It is hypocritical. In the end of the day it will be counterproductive,” Liberman said.
European support of Palestinian unilateral moves and or imposed solutions to the peace process, was particularly harmful, Liberman said.
He charged that Sweden’s decision last week to recognize Palestine as a state outside of a negotiated peace agreement, the first Western European country to do so, was a “cynical” step to exploit an international situation for its own domestic purposes.
“This position will not advance peace, it will only distance a peaceful resolution and might even undermine all our efforts to achieve a strategic breakthrough in our relations with the Palestinians,” he said.
The Swedish government, he charged, took that step to appease the Muslim community in its country, which is “25 times larger than the Jewish one.”
It is also part of Sweden’s drive to receive the necessary support among UN nations, particularly the 57 Islamic states, to become a member state of the Security Council in the future, Liberman said.
The Swedish government, he said, had not apprised Israel of Thursday’s decision, even though it had promised to alert him in advance.
Last month when the government first announced its intentions, Liberman said he had spoken with his Swedish counterpart.
“We agreed to inform each other about new steps, not to surprise each other,” he said.
“With this understanding in mind, it was very, very disappointing and surprising to hear of Sweden’s recent decision,” Liberman said.
He ended his statement on a positive note.
“We hope at least to keep open lines and open dialogue and between EU countries and the state of Israel,” Liberman said.