Netanyahu Accuses Europe of 'Appeasing Terrorists'
JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Europe is falling into the trap of appeasing terrorists by pressuring Israel.
"Today we witnessed a series of examples of European naivety, and may I add, hypocrisy," the Israeli leader said.
Those examples include the following:
- The European court removed Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations.
- The European parliament voted in principle to recognize a Palestinian state.
- And some parties to a fourth Geneva Convention called to investigate Israel for war crimes.
"Now all these point in the same direction," Netanyahu said. "They point to a spirit of appeasement in Europe of the very forces that threaten Europe itself."
"Too many in Europe are calling on Israel to make concessions that would endanger not only the security of Israel, but also paradoxically, the security of Europe itself because Israel is the forward position of European civilization," he charged.
The European actions came on the same day Jordan submitted a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council, calling for peace between Israel and the Palestinians within a year and an Israeli withdrawal from biblical Judea and Samaria within three years.
Speaking to foreign journalists at the annual New Year's toast, Netanyahu described Israel as an "embattled democracy" in a region plagued by tyranny and Islamist terrorism.
"Israel is forced to defend itself against terrorists who time and again try to target our civilians," the prime minister said. "This summer they fired thousands of rockets on our cities, and they used their civilians as human shields. That's a second war crime."
Netanyahu said peace won't last in the Middle East unless it can be defended, and European declarations against Israel only reinforce Palestinian intransigence and push peace away.
"Peace will only come when the Palestinians are willing to confront their own extremists," he challenged. "And instead of rewarding Palestinian intransigence, the European democracies should support the one and only democracy in the Middle East and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the State of Israel.
The increased pressure comes at a time when Israel is preparing for national elections. Some believe the European moves are intended to weaken Netanyahu because he's an Israeli leader who resists the move to appease Islamic terrorism.