Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 - 9 of Adar, 5778

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to EU’s Federica Mogherini: Abbas speaks one way in English and another in Arabic

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BRUSSELS —One day after Mahmoud Abbas’s visit in Brussels, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein met EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini whom he warned not to be taken in by the Palestinian Authority’s pledges in the international arena to pursue peace, as he says exactly the opposite when addressing his own people in Arabic.

“We must pay attention to Abbas’ ‘doublespeak.’ as he speaks one way in English and another in Arabic.”

Edelstein referred to remarks made last week by Abbas during a meeting of the.Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Committee in Ramallah. In his speech, Abbas stated that Zionism was a ‘’European colonial project’’ dating back to the time of Oliver Cromwell and had nothing to do with Judaism, that Zionists cooperated with the Nazis, and uttered an Arabic imprecation hoping that US President Donald Trump’s “house” is “destroyed.”

“Abbas said that Israel is a colonial project and I would expect a strong reaction from the EU,” Edelstein told Mogherini.

On Monday, Mogeherini met Abbas and in a joint press briefing hte EU foreign affairs responsible reassured her interlocutor of the EU’s commitment to the two-state solution with Jerusalem as shared capital of the two states, the state of Israel and the state of Palestine.

German Deputy Foreign Minister, Michael was the sole to mention Abbas’s comments on Monday as he spoke to the presse before was joining his colleagues for the meeting with Abbas. ”Mahmoud Abbas has told unacceptable things and we will tell him,” he said.

German government’s Minister of State for European Affairs Michael Roth. He was the sole to raise the question of Abbas’s recent incendiary remarks, during Monday’s EU Foreign Affairs Council.

Mogherini reiterated the EU’s commitment to Israel’s security and noted the importance of an open and sincere dialogue between Israel and the EU, emphasizing the unity and cooperation that already exists.

During his meeting with Mogherini, Edelstein also stated that the EU must take a stronger stand against Iran’s aggression and pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“I heard on Monday that Vice President Michael Pence is talking about Iran and says that the US will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power,” he said. “I would like to hear how your agreement with Iran gives cover and confidence that Iran will not be

He also addressed the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. “We have not yet experienced a year of declining incidents of anti-Semitism in Europe and the trend of immigration is clear, and it is important that we appreciate the fact that synagogues in Europe are secured with armed people, but it also indicates the depth and strength of the problem.”

On Wednesday, the Knesset President will speak at a ceremony in the European Parliament to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day which  commemorates each year on January 27th, the date in 1945 when the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps were liberated by the Red Army.

The date was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in November 2005 as an international day.

The commemoration event has become an official memorial hosted by the President of the European Parliament.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani addressing the annual event marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the European Parliament in January 2017.


Separately, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has decided to take part in a campaign initiated by Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Director of the European Jewish Association, and to lit a memorial candle on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January and post a picture on social media, under the hashtag #NotOnMyWatch #EJA.

In a letter to Rabbi Margolin, Juncker stresses his personal and the Commission’s determination to mark the memorial day ‘’to reaffirm that Europe stands for the ideals of tolerance, human rights and freedom of religion and against any forms of hatred and violence.’’


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