Polish PM to Netanyahu: You can count on us

Donald Tusk says Israeli perspective must have place in Europe’s policies; Warsaw takes over EU presidency later this year.

donald tusk and netanyahu_311 (photo credit: Moshe Milner / GPO)
donald tusk and netanyahu_311
(photo credit: Moshe Milner / GPO)
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Thursday his country fully supported Israel and would stand by it, in particular when it assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union later this year.
“Israel has the right to expect from the international community to have full support [with respect to] safety, security and peace in this region,” Tusk said in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
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“You can count on our cooperation and support, dear friend,” Tusk said.
“This message is what I brought with me to Israel. It is in the interest of all the people, not just one nation. It is in the global interest,” he said.
“The Israeli perspective must have its place in European policies. There must be the conviction of the European politicians that the situation in the region and the world requires cold objectivity in terms of facts and honest and courage in terms of intelligence,” he said.
Tusk arrived in Israel on Wednesday for a two-day visit, with a delegation that included his foreign and defense ministers as well as several other cabinet members and a number of ministry secretaries and under-secretaries.
This was the first such meeting between members of the two countries’ cabinets. A second joint ministerial meeting is planned for next year in Warsaw.
During the current visit, Poland signed a number of cooperative agreements including in the areas of defense, health, environment, education and culture.
Netanyahu spoke of the deep friendship between the countries, and of his own connection with Tusk.
“I can tell that you, Donald, are a true friend of Israel. As prime minister, I have the great privilege of counting you as a personal friend, and Poland, too, is a real friend to Israel,’ he said.
Later this year, when Poland stands at the helm of the EU, it will have a key role in advancing a number of issues, Netanyahu said.
He said that as a result, Warsaw would play a key role in advancing a number of issues of importance to Israel.
“First, by continuing the international fight against Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. You made very strong statements regarding the danger that could result from this development, and I appreciate your stance and your determination in this first area,” Netanayhu said.
Second, he said, he hoped that Warsaw would take steps to return the Palestinians to the path of direct negotiations and to prevent their pursuit of unilateral statehood.
“The third thing of which we spoke at length during our meetings is the fight against attempts to delegitimize Israel, and standing clearly behind the Jewish state’s right to defend itself – a right granted to each and every country,” Netanyahu said.
He added that he hoped Poland would upgrade Israel’s standing in the EU, by “upgrading the truth.”
“Israel is fighting for its right to exist, to live in security and exist at all, against ceaseless waves of attacks; against the regime in Iran calling for our destruction,” he said.
A strong, clear position is needed from Europe to combat this, such as what Israel heard from Tusk, Netanyahu said.
“I want to tell you, my friend Donald, Jewish history and Polish history will forever be connected with one another. The chapters of our past – both the triumphs and the tragedies – cannot be rewritten. But the future is up to us, and I have no doubt that both of us are committed to ensuring that our common future is one of security, of hope, of prosperity and of peace,” Netanyahu said.