Itongadol.- Prime Minister Binyamin took a swipe at the EU Thursday morning for not blacklisting Hezbollah, saying that if that organization is not a terrorist group, "who is?" Netanyahu\’s comments came at the outset of a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton which was expected to focus on Iran, Hezbollah, and the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.
Reflecting deep Israeli frustration with the EU for not placing Hezbollah on its terrorist list, Netanyahu said, "It is very difficult to understand how there is not a consensus on labeling Hezbollah a terrorist organization." In order for the EU to blacklist the group, it needs the consensus of all 27 EU states – something that it has not been able to achieve.
Netanyahu said Hezbollah slaughters people around the world, including today in Syria and in Europe, as was seen last year in Bulgaria.
Regarding the diplomatic process, Netanyahu did not give voice in his public statement to Jerusalem\’s irritation with the EU for what it considers its "obsessive" focus on settlement construction.
Instead he said only that US Secretary of State John Kerry was working hard trying to restart the negotiations, something Israel was willing to do immediately and without preconditions.
He said he hoped the EU would support that as well because "it is the right thing to do."
Israeli officials said this week that they believe the EU needed to let PA President Mahmoud Abbas know that their patience with his unwillingness to return to talks was running out. They also said that the EU was undermining Kerry\’s efforts by focusing on the settlements, giving the Palestinians the feeling they have a "blank check" from Europe.
Regarding Iran, Netanyahu said that the true test of whether the election of Hassan Rohani as president presages a change there will be whether the centrifuges stop spinning, Iran removes all enriched uranium from the country, and it closes the secret nuclear facility at Qom.
Netanyahu said the world needed to continue applying pressure on Iran, and that the question was not one of form, such as the new face put on Iran with the election of Rohani, but rather substance.
Ashton said that she "fully supports" Kerry\’s efforts, and said that Wednesday night in Ramallah, and now in Jerusalem as well.
She also said he heard what Netanyahu said regarding Hezbollah, and these issues would be discussed in their meeting.