A delegation of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee met with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders Wednesday morning. The discussion centered on how Europe, including Belgium, is dealing with the return to the European Union of people who fought in the Middle East.
FM Reynders expressed his solidarity with Israel amid the current wave of terror, and said Belgium and its local Jewish community are forced to deal with an increase in violence. Belgium, he said, has beefed up security at Jewish institutions in the country.
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Tzachi Hanegbi noted that the last round of peace talks ended when the Palestinians left the negotiating table, while Israel agreed to take significant measures.
The Palestinians, Hanegbi told FM Reynders, must acknowledge the fact that the solution to the refugee problem cannot involve the refugees` return to Israeli territory. This is a key condition for reaching a peace agreement, he stated.
Following the meeting, members of the delegation visited the Jewish Museum of Belgium and held a memorial ceremony for the victims of the terror attack which took place at the site in May 2014. During the ceremony, the MKs laid a wreath at the entrance to the museum.
The Knesset delegation also includes MKs Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid), Merav Michaeli (Zionist Camp), Michael Oren (Kulanu) and Nachman Shai (Zionist Camp).
On Tuesday the delegation held a joint meeting with the European Parliament`s Foreign Affairs Committee.
During the meeting in Brussels, Hanegbi stressed to his European counterparts that amid the instability in the Middle East, Israel is the only democratic anchor. Hanegbi added that while Hezbollah is embroiled in the Syrian civil war, it remains prepared along Israel`s border with Lebanon, and the relative calm is fragile.
Hanegbi noted that Israel is providing humanitarian assistance to Syrians, and said that in any case President Bashar Assad should not remain in power due to his responsibility for mass killings in his country.
Addressing the Palestinian issue, Hanegbi stated the current terror wave in Israel ”is not leading us anywhere,” adding ”there is not one Israeli who does not want peace with the Palestinians, but this calls for a return the negotiating table in order to discuss all the disputes, with a brave leader on the other side who openly agrees to relinquish the Palestinians` right of return to the State of Israel`s territory.”
He further told the MEPs that measures aimed at pressuring Israel, such as the labeling of goods produced in Judea and Samaria, do not contribute to the peace process and only encourage Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to restart negotiations.
Turning his attention to the nuclear agreement between the world powers and Iran, Hanegbi said it is not a good deal, but for now Israel and the West must make certain that Iran lives up to its commitments under the agreement.
The Israelis and European lawmakers agreed that the dialogue between the committees should be conducted on a regular basis in order to exchange of ideas and opinions.
Later on Tuesday, the members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee delegation met with Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Hanegbi told the senior EU official that once the current wave of Palestinian terror ends, it will be easier to promote trust-building measures. MK Perry said ”even small measures are enough to prove Israel`s intentions to the world.”