EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu: EU and Israel should “reset ties”


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the European Union on Thursday of holding Israel to a “double standard”.

“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.

The relation between the Israeli government and the EU has been quite cold the past few months due to the EU decision to require labeling of exports from Israeli illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, once that the EU considers settlements built on Palestinians territories occupied by Israel in 1967 to be illegal under international law.

“It is puzzling and even irritating that the EU chooses to apply a double standard concerning Israel, while ignoring that there are over 200 other territorial disputes worldwide”, Netanyahu said last November.

In November 2015, Israel suspended contact with EU bodies involved in peace efforts with Palestinians because of the EU’s labeling decision, though Netanyahu said bilateral ties with nearly all EU countries were still strong.

During his statement on Thursday, he especially criticized Sweden, saying its call to investigate Israel in the deaths of Palestinian attackers was “immoral” and “stupid.”

“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?” – He added.

On Wednesday Israeli government has summoned the Swedish ambassador Carl Magnus Nesser over Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström’s call for a probe into Israeli “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians.

Wallström’s comments came after daily confrontations between the Palestinian youth and the Israeli occupation forces in the occupied West Bank, in occupied East Jerusalem in the Gaza Strip border fence.

More than 155 Palestinians, including 28 children and 7 women, were killed by the IOF or by illegal settlers since the beginning of October 2015.

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