Deputy FM Ayalon briefed the delegation on the peace process and Israel’s commitment to achieving a solution with the Palestinians.
(Communicated by the Bureau of Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon)
Today, (Thursday 27th May), Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon met with a high-level delegation from the European Parliament, including members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Budgetary Committee and Development Committee.
Peace process and settlements
The Deputy Foreign Minister told the delegation how things stand regarding the peace process and Israel’s commitment to achieving a solution with the Palestinians. Many of the Europeans Members of Parliament pressed Ayalon on the settlement issue.
"To single out the settlement issue is wrong morally, politically and practically," Ayalon said in response to questions. "There were no settlements from 1948 to 1967 and there was still terrorism."
"Also, Judea and Samaria is not us like Algeria was to France. This is our historic heartland and if you scrape any inch of the territory you will find archeological evidence of a rich Jewish civilization."
When pressed about Israel’s image in Europe, Ayalon explained that all can do more to state Israel’s case more clearly. "Please tell your constituents that it is not all black and white in this conflict," Ayalon said. "There are complexities that can not be explained in a sound bite."
The delegation had many questions on Gaza and the situation there and the Deputy Foreign Minister told them that there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. However, he told the delegation that Hamas is the source of the problem for the people of Gaza. "Hamas, as an agent of Iran, works against the interests of the Palestinians," Ayalon said. "We always attempt to differentiate between Hamas and innocent civilians in Gaza."
One member of the delegation brought up the issue of a law meant to provide more transparency on the work of NGO’s. "This law is not intended to infringe on their work. It is merely to make their activities more transparent," Ayalon said in response. "Many of our detractors use NGO’s for their own agenda and too much time is spent checking Israel when there are real human rights abuses in places like Saudi Arabia. When an organization like Human Rights Watch tries to raise money in Saudi Arabia, there is something wrong."
The Deputy Foreign Minister also asked the European delegation to check whether their funding of the Palestinian Authority is being used for its intended purposes. "$150,000, including European taxpayers money, is going to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad, who is using it to burn Israeli products, incite against Israel, use Lawfare against Israeli officials and send people to be executed for selling land to Israelis," Ayalon said.