Livni bemoans European anti-Semitism

FM calls on visiting European Parliament head to encourage legislation prohibiting anti-Semitic acts.

peres and eu president 248.88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
peres and eu president 248.88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday expressed her concern over anti-Semitism in Europe during a meeting with visiting European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering. Livni called on the European Parliament as well as on European leaders to denounce anti-Semitic incidents and to encourage appropriate legislation prohibiting them. "We cannot allow this ugly phenomenon to raise its head, and it is upon the leaders of Europe and the international community to use all the means at their disposal to loudly and clearly oppose it," Livni told Pöttering, who is in Israel leading a delegation of senior European Parliament members. Livni went on to speak of Iran and its links to Middle East terror organizations, noting that "the international community must impose severe sanctions to prevent Iran from equipping itself with nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran will constitute a threat to the stability of the region and on the possibility of attaining peace in the Middle East." The Foreign Minister stressed the importance of the continued isolation of Hamas and the adherence to the three Quartet principles regarding the organization. She also emphasized that Hamas rocket attacks prompted the recent IDF operation in Gaza and that Hamas alone was responsible for the suffering there. Earlier, Peres told Pöttering that it was regrettable that the world, with Europe in the lead, neither recognizes nor is exposed to the real face of Hamas. Europe and the international community do comprehend the situation in Gaza and the acts of terrorism perpetrated by Hamas, but they do precious little to improve the situation, Peres remarked. Instead, he said, they steer the Palestinians in the wrong direction, which causes untold harm to prospects for peace and makes it difficult to strengthen moderates in the region. Peres reminded his guests that Europe had helped to quell Palestinian terrorism in the past and declared that it was vital for those who earnestly desire peace to do so again now. Pöttering told Peres that the delegation had toured Sderot and the Gaza Strip and was extremely concerned about humanitarian needs in Gaza. Reports the delegation received from United Nations agencies in the Gaza Strip indicated that there was a severe shortage of food and medications, said Pöttering. Europe wants to help the Palestinian population and encourage the continuation of the peace process, he declared, but emphasized that Europe wants and needs to see practical, confidence-building steps on the ground. He suggested that, as Peres is known as a man of peace, that he become more involved in advancing the peace process. Peres suggested that the delegation do a reality check on Gaza, where Hamas exploits its own people, using them as human shields to advance its own interests. Israel has fought and will continue to fight against terrorism, said Peres, but while doing so it will not prevent the flow of humanitarian aid. Pöttering and his delegation came to Beit Hanassi directly from a meeting with Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu.