The European Union must stop pressuring Israel to enter dangerous agreements that threaten the future of the Jewish state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Jerusalem on Tuesday night.
Europe “seeks to unilaterally press Israel into agreements that will endanger our very existence and therefore your very defense,” Netanyahu publicly told visiting European Council President Donald Tusk prior to holding a private discussion with him.
Netanyahu said he was glad to see Tusk both as a representative of the EU and as a personal friend.
“I’ve known you for many years. You’ve been a great friend of Israel, of the Jewish people, and may I say of me personally,” Netanyahu told Tusk.
“We welcome Europe,” said Netanyahu, before quipping in an off-the-cuff remark, “Does Europe welcome Israel?”
Netanyahu told Tusk he hoped that together they could find a way to improve relations between Israel and Europe.
Israel, which has strong economic and cultural ties with several European countries, is often at odds with them on diplomatic issues such as Iran’s nuclear program and the stalemate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. In addition, Israel has been concerned by EU plans to publish legal guidelines that would help its member states affix consumer labels to products produced in West Bank settlements. The guidelines are non-binding, however Israel fears that they could be used to further encourage people boycott the Jewish state.
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