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.

    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."

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    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.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora