Foreign Ministry slams EU envoy for something he never actually said

Faaborg-Andersen made distinction in Tuesday interview between terrorism in Europe and in Israel, radio station clarifies.

Lars Faaborg-Andersen at the Jerusalem Post's Diplomatic Conference (photo credit: SIVAN FARAG)
Lars Faaborg-Andersen at the Jerusalem Post's Diplomatic Conference
(photo credit: SIVAN FARAG)
In a sign of Jerusalem’s overall anger with the European Union, the Foreign Ministry issued a blistering response late Tuesday night to the misrepresentation of what the EU’s ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen said in an interview with the ultra-Orthodox Radio Kol Hai.
A press statement released on behalf of the radio station, which served as the basis for the Foreign Ministry’s angry response, said that Faaborg-Andersen made a distinction in a Tuesday interview between terrorism in Europe and in Israel.
According to the statement, the ambassador said: “The terrorism that Europe is suffering is not by young people who are attacking with knives on the streets. To deal with that there is a need to take political steps, improve the conditions of the Palestinians living in the West Bank. There is a need to reduce the level of frustration of these youth to prevent these actions.”
The ambassador, according to the statement, said that Islamic State terrorism was something completely different. “There you are talking about professionals intentionally acting to harm European targets,” he was quoted as saying.
These words sparked a furious response from the Foreign Ministry, which said that the ministry rejected the distinction Faaborg-Andersen allegedly made between Palestinian terrorism and that of the Islamic State. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently directed the Foreign Ministry to suspend talks with the EU on anything dealing with the Middle East peace process, because of anger over the role the EU institutions in Brussels played in pushing through the labeling of settlement products.
“The Islamic State’s terrorism wants to destroy Europe, and the Palestinian terrorism wants to destroy Israel,” the Foreign Ministry statement read. “The comments of the EU ambassador represent a double standard regarding the terrorism that threatens all of us.”
The only problem was that Faaborg-Andersen did not exactly say what was attributed to him.
Asked during the interview whether the recent terrorism in Europe was making Europeans think differently about Israel, Faaborg-Andersen, after saying that the EU feels very strong solidarity with Israel in light of the current wave of terrorism, said, “The phenomenon of terrorism has to be addressed in different ways depending on who are the terrorist organizations.”
“I think the Israeli authorities have realized that in order to tackle the current wave of terrorism here in Israel you need a mix of security measures and political measures,” he said.
“What the government has been talking about is the need to improve the situation on the ground for the Palestinians living in east Jerusalem and on the West Bank in order to take [away] some of this frustration that might motivate some of them to do the things that they are doing.”
Islamic State, he said, “is a different phenomenon. These are professional terrorists who are members of a terrorist organization perpetrating acts of terrorism in Europe and other places. They’re not young people in their 20s going out with a pair of scissors or a knife and just stabbing someone they meet randomly on the street. So obviously it requires a different approach.
“But it doesn’t detract from the fact, and I want to make that very clear, terrorism is terrorism and it is equally condemnable to the extent that it affects innocent people, no matter who perpetrates it, and no matter where it takes place.”
One Foreign Ministry official, who said the ministry had no intention of retracting its original statement, said that Jerusalem is “extremely sensitive and attentive” to interviews from European representatives because of some unfortunate statements that have distinguished between terrorism in Israel and elsewhere.
“We expect the EU to condemn terrorism against Israel, in the same term that they do against Europeans or others,” the official said.