EU touts strong relations with Israel in response to Netanyahu

In response to Netanyahu’s leaked criticism, the EU’s mission to Israel stresses deep ties with Jerusalem.

On Thursday, the European Union’s (EU) diplomatic delegation to Israel headed by Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Anderson, responded on Twitter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leaked conversation with Central European leaders in Budapest. On a “hot mic,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the EU’s Middle East policies as destructive to both Israel and the EU itself.

Faaborg-Anderson painted a positive picture of the EU’s relations with the Jewish state, tweeting, “The EU has deeper, broader relations with Israel than with almost any 3rd country & we continue to advance them, economic and political.”

However, the EU’s delegation in Israel stressed that an upgrade of relations depended on diplomatic progress concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict. “Upgrading to next level must be based on our shared values, incl. respect for international humanitarian law, steps to 2-state solution,” continued the tweets.

Netanyahu’s remarks in Budapest were unintentionally transmitted to media outside the meeting. “The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel that produces technology in every area, on political conditions. The only ones! Nobody does it,” said Netanyahu, adding, ”Stop attacking Israel… Europe is undermining its own security by undermining Israel.”

Netanyahu urged the leaders of Poland, Hungary , the Czech Republic, and Slovakia to support stronger bilateral ties with Israel and to not allow politics to undermine technological cooperation.

Netanyahu’s comments, however, come at a sensitive time for the EU, which is experiencing internal divisions between its Central European and Western European member states, as several Central European countries have refused orders from the EU to take in thousands of migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As a result, the EU recently initiated legal proceedings against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

 By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News