EU angers Israel over involvement in occupation exhibition
John MACDOUGALL (AFP/File)
Israel on Monday harshly criticised the European Union over a plan for its ambassador to participate in an event marking 50 years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
The dispute comes ahead of a planned visit next week by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Brussels for talks with EU foreign ministers.
"For reasons unknown, the EU people believe that the way to Israelis' hearts is by spitting in their faces," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said in comments to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which he later confirmed to AFP.
"We are again seeing the same patronising approach of preaching hypocritical, condescending morality that just pushes away rather than bringing closer. It is sad and superfluous."
He was referring to an exhibition featuring portraits of 50 Palestinians born in 1967, when the Israeli occupation began, organised by Israeli rights group B'Tselem.
An EU official confirmed to AFP that the bloc's ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, planned to visit the exhibition in connection with International Human Rights Day on Thursday in Jaffa, part of Tel Aviv.
Israel's right-wing government accuses groups such as B'Tselem of unfairly tarnishing the country's image for political reasons, charges they firmly deny.
In April, Netanyahu cancelled talks with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in a rare move after the visiting diplomat declined to call off meetings with rights groups critical of Israel's government, including B'Tselem.
Netanyahu's talks with EU foreign ministers on December 11 are considered "informal" and come amid continuing tensions over Israeli settlement building in the West Bank.
A number of European Union states have refused for several months to approve a formal meeting with Israel's government due to a lack of unanimity among members on how to condemn Israeli settlement building and to express frustration over stalled peace efforts
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Europe hasb had a history of new hate for thousands of years. you thought that suddenly changed because people now speak politically correct b.s.?