The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, denounced on Thursday “the hypocritical and hostile attitude of the European Union” towards Israel. His comments came ahead of his departure for Bulgaria, where he is due to meet the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and the Serbian president. He is attempting to forge new political alliances with European countries, which are less critical of the current Israeli policy towards the Palestinians.
“This is not just a meeting of friends, but it is, of course, to strengthen relations with each of these countries. Yet it is also a bloc of countries with whom I want to promote my policy, to change the hypocritical and hostile attitude of the EU,” Netanyahu said.
Israel continues to occupy the West Bank since 1967 and has annexed East Jerusalem, the Palestinian side of the Holy City. The annexation has never been formally recognised by the international community which considers that the future status of Jerusalem should be decided in negotiations between the two sides.
The EU supports the two-state solution to put an end to the conflict.
Netanyahu also wants to convince the EU to strengthen the pressure on Iran, and continues to criticize a plan developed by Brussels to save the nuclear agreement with Iran and circumvent US sanctions against Teheran. On 4 November, US sanctions against Iranian oil exports will enter into force.
In a statement on Friday, Netanyahu stressed the importance of Israeli-European cooperation in technology, energy and security.
“We have 8,000 start-ups, and the number is growing all the time—anything from cybersecurity to health, water management, IT, every field … These things we want to share, are eager to share with our friends here in various ways.”
On energy, he highlighted the East Med pipeline. “This will be the longest underwater gas pipeline in the world. It will go from our gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean through Cyprus, to Crete, to Greece and to Italy and possibly go up to the Balkans.”
He also disclosed that Israel has helped uncover two terrorist attacks, one in Paris and the other one in Copenhagen, organized by the Iranian secret service. ”Blocking Iran is uttermost on our agenda for security, not merely for Israel but I believe for Europe and the world as well”.