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European-Israeli tensions

Israeli minister says EU ‘can go to a thousand hells’ after body criticizes Israel

“The E.U. statement only shows how vile it is,” Steinitz said, adding that it represents “the height of cynicism and chutzpah.”

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on Oct. 29, 2017. Photo by Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on Oct. 29, 2017. Photo by Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL.

“The European Union can go to a thousand hells,” said Israel’s National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz in response to a statement criticizing Israel for an incident involving a human-rights activist.

In a statement, European Union spokesperson Maja Kocijancic called on Israel to investigate the incident in which Jafar Farah, director of the NGO Mossawa, the Advocacy Centre for Arab Citizens in Israel, claimed he had his leg broken by police during a demonstration against the deaths of dozens of Palestinians in events on the Gaza border on May 14.

The spokesperson called on Israel to investigate the incident that is expected to add fuel to the fire of the growing tension between the European Union and Israel. “In addition, it will also be important, as supported by the Israeli government, to conduct a swift investigation into circumstances surrounding events last week in Haifa which appeared to result in serious injury of Jafar Farah,” the statement added.

European Union’s Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret visited Farah this past week and spoke with Israeli-Arab civic society organizers.

The E.U. statement also called on Israel not to deport Omar Shakir, the local director for Human Rights Watch. Israel has revoked the U.S. citizen’s entry permit and ordered him to leave the country for his alleged support of boycotts against Israel.

“The European Union expects the Israeli authorities to reverse their decision, as otherwise Israel would join a very short list of countries which have barred entry to, or expelled, Human Rights Watch staff,” said Kocijancic.

Steinitz accused the European Union of “hypocrisy,” saying that the same organization “sucked up to Iran” and would help Tehran in the face of newly imposed American sanctions.

“Israel is a state of rules and laws,” said Steinitz, adding that the police was investigating the incident.

The E.U. statement only shows “how vile it is,” Steinitz said, adding that it represents “the height of cynicism and chutzpah.”

“Iran executes and tortures homosexuals, violates women’s rights—not to talk about what it’s doing in the Middle East, its support of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, who uses chemical weapons against its people,” said the minister, noting the E.U. chose to go after Israel instead.

“The E.U. is a body that is not led by anyone, and is unlikely to change its stance on Israel even though individual European countries have strengthened their ties with the Jewish state,” said Steinitz.

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