News / Middle East

    Israel, EU Should 'Reset' Ties, Netanyahu Says

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to members of the foreign media during the annual toast for the new year in Jerusalem, Jan. 14, 2016.
    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to members of the foreign media during the annual toast for the new year in Jerusalem, Jan. 14, 2016.
    Reuters

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the European Union on Thursday of holding his country to a double standard, and he reserved special criticism for Sweden, saying its call to investigate Israel in the deaths of Palestinian attackers was "immoral" and "stupid."

    "There is a natural tendency in the EU establishment to single out Israel and treat it in ways that other countries are not being dealt with, and especially other democracies," he told a gathering of foreign journalists.

    Netanyahu said ties needed to be "reset" — an acknowledgment that things were bad — but he did not propose steps to improve them.

    Israel has been at odds with the EU over its decision to require labeling of exports from Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In November, Israel suspended contact with EU bodies involved in peace efforts with Palestinians, though Netanyahu said bilateral ties with nearly all EU countries were strong.

    Relations with Sweden, however, have deteriorated since it recognized Palestinian statehood last year, and Netanyahu lambasted a call by the Swedish foreign minister to investigate whether Israeli forces were guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinian attackers.

    "It's outrageous, it's immoral and it's stupid," Netanyahu said. "People are defending themselves against assailants wielding knives who are about to stab them to death, and they shoot the people — and that's extrajudicial killings?"

    Fears of wider violence

    Rights groups have accused Israel of using excessive force to quell a surge in attacks, which has raised fears of wider confrontation, a decade after the last Palestinian uprising subsided.

    Israeli soldiers on Thursday shot dead a Palestinian who had tried to stab one of them near the West Bank city of Hebron. In a separate incident near the town of Nablus, soldiers killed a man after he slashed and wounded an army officer, the army said.

    That brought the number of Palestinians killed since October 1 to at least 145. Israel says 93 of these were assailants, while most of the others died in clashes with Israeli security forces.

    In the same period, Palestinian attacks with knives, guns or cars have killed 24 Israelis and a U.S. citizen.

    The wave of attacks has been partly fueled by Palestinian frustration over the collapse of peace talks, the growth of Jewish settlements on land they seek for a future state and Islamist calls for the destruction of Israel.

    Also stoking the violence has been Muslim agitation at stepped-up Jewish visits to a contested Jerusalem shrine.

    Earlier, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said pre-emptive raids and arrests had prevented the violence from escalating into an armed Palestinian revolt, and he predicted that the grass-roots violence would stop.

    "We are managing to foil plans by the organizations, the terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to carry out attacks. If it were up to them, there would be suicide bombings and gun attacks here every day," Yaalon told Israel Radio.

    "The fact that we are succeeding lends salience to the attempted stabbing or car-ramming attacks," he said. "We will also prevail over this phenomenon, I say, but this is a process that takes time. Statistically, we see a waning of this."

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mudy hassan(Tanzania )
    January 15, 2016 1:12 PM
    A day it coming to israel they will cry like palestinian cry now
    In Response

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 15, 2016 9:23 PM
    The world has heard this kind of hate since the very beginning of Israel when Arabs said they would throw all the Jews into the sea.

    How ironic that what the Arabs wished on the Jews and worse is happening to them everywhere you look. If you are a believer, consider that god is punishing these people for their hatred. If you're not, just consider it poetic justice, an irony of history. Meanwhile with chaos all around them, the Israeli Jews seem relatively safe for the time being and should they be attacked they have the means and the will to defend themselves. They also have an unshakable alliance with the greatest superpower in the world, the United States of America. The rest including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt from America's point of view are all expendable.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 15, 2016 10:14 AM
    There are a lot of people in Europe who hate Israel, hate Jews, hate America, hate America's support for Israel. Europe will get its just rewards. It has made blunder after blunder and will pay the price. In fact Europe has made more fatal mistakes that I can list. I will not shed a tear when this horrible egotistical elitist place collapses in complete chaos and ruin. There are no solutions for the problems it has made for itself and it is no friend of America.

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