EU says Israel should guarantee rights for all citizens

Spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief asks for protection of minorities' rights, saying for Israel this means "whether they are Jewish or not."

catherine ashton 311 (photo credit: AP)
catherine ashton 311
(photo credit: AP)
The European Union on Tuesday urged Israel to guarantee equality for all its citizens after Prime Minister Binymain Netanyahu's offer the previous day to continue the building moratorium in the West Bank in return for Palestinian Authority recognition of Israel as the Jewish national home, according to the AFP.
"We support the two democratic states living side by side in peace and security," a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told AFP. "We also stress that the future states of Palestine and Israel will need to fully guarantee equality to all their citizens."
RELATED:‘Anti-democratic’ bills in Knesset pipeline, ACRI warnsPalestinians quash PM's offer for renewed building freezeYa'alon: 'No chance of peace with Palestinians'"Basically in the case of Israel, this means whether they are Jewish or not," said the spokeswoman Maja Kocijancik.
The previous day Netanyahu spoke at the opening of the Knesset's winter session in Jerusalem, taking time to address the precarious state of peace talks with the Palestinians.
In his speech, the prime minister challenged his Palestinian counterparts to continue the peace talks by saying he would initiate a cabinet proposal to renew a settlement moratorium if the Palestinian Authority would declare its recognition of Israel as a national home for the Jewish people.
Netanyahu's comments put an end to a couple of weeks of speculation regarding how he would deal with the moratorium issue.
He said that Palestinian recognition would be an important "confidence building measure" and would send an important positive message to the Israeli people of  Palestinian intentions.
On Sunday, the cabinet called on all new citizens who are not Jewish to pledge an oath of allegiance to the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, passing an amendment to Israel's Citizenship Law that is to go before the Knesset.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.