Netanyahu is losing patience. Even with Italy

Jerusalem. Rescue time: the countries of the European Union call the Israeli ambassadors to protest against construction in the occupied territories? And Israel calls the ambassadors from Rome, London, Paris and Madrid to protest against their continuously unbalanced attitude in favor of the Palestinians. The bitter pill of Lady Ashton’s guidelines and calling on its ambassadors was finally deemed unaccceptable for Israel, an intrusion at a delicate moment of the peace talks. And perhaps the Israeli convocation is a warning to all of Europe not to be an instrument in Kerry’s hands in pushing for compulsory concessions. Perhaps Israel is kicking the dog, wanting to do it to the master. Which might also be the case with the Italian Ambassador Francesco Talò, who has cordial relations with Israel, and who, during the group discussion convened by the Foreign Ministry, was immediately accused of always siding with the Palestinians. “How can you constantly persist about the settlements,” they basically told the diplomats, “when the Palestinians continue to refuse to recognize a Jewish state, even after we delivered the prisoners we promised, and they haven’t reciprocated our actions with anything more than praise for the terrorists that were released?” The convention of Talò and the others proposes that we stop blaming Israel. And that is what brought Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, just the night before, to harshly accuse Europe of hypocrisy, during the annual toast with the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem.

The Arab world is putting Benyamin Netanyahu in a good mood, while Europe is making him angry. Once the cocktails were done, sporting a big smile, he described the afternoon meeting with the King of Jordan, Abdullah, as “excellent”: the two discussed the ongoing talks. It’s vital to understand who will control the Jordan Valley, which the Palestinians want for themselves with the presence of an international force. Israel doesn’t like that idea, and the King is in a delicate situation: “We will protect the security of both nations,” said Bibi. His anger, however, was aimed at Europe who just convened its ambassadors to protest against 1400 new housing units. Netanyahu didn’t use diplomacy. “You’re wrong,” he said, “if that’s how you think you’re going to help us resolve the conflict.” It isn’t the construction of a few houses that is causing the conflict. Bibi reminded everyone that ever since the 1930s, when the settlements weren’t even in sight, the Arab world carried out attacks and refused to recognize the State of Israel. “Enough with all the hypocrisy,” he said, “when was the last time Europe called the PLO ambassador to ask him about their incitement to destroy Israel or to protest because his security apparatus was involved in terrorist attacks. The EU, in fact, suggests that the Palestinians can do whatever they want without paying any price,” Bibi replied to the reporters who asked how he reconciled returning terrorist prisoners to the Palestinians with the construction of some houses that won’t change the agreement, and how he hopes, though, that the Palestinians won’t want a “Judenrein” state.

The fact is that international aggression against Israel is coming from every angle. UNESCO, less than a week away from the opening of an exhibition that covers the 3500 years of the ties between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, stopped the exhibition with the excuse that it could disrupt the peace process: “UNESCO is deeply committed to achieving stability in the region.” So the organization that should be protecting the culture in the world erases one of its key episodes: the history of the Jewish people, the birth of monotheism in Jerusalem. It’s a known fact that the stalemate in the peace process today is the recognition of the history of the Jewish people. What does Europe have to say about the reckless act by UNESCO?

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale; English copyright, The Gatestone Institute

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.