Itongadol.- Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman issued a sharp response to the European Union (EU)\’s recognition of the Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday, labeling the move "counterproductive" and noting that the vote shows a distinct bias.
"The decisions made today by the European Union do not contribute to improving the situation in the Middle East, nor do they improve the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians," Liberman stated. "We think that any unilateral steps are very, very counterproductive. [There is] only one way to resolve our dispute with the Palestinians: direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians."
"Any attempt to place pressure on Israel will only undermine all our efforts to bring [a] comprehensive, reasonable solution to the Middle East," he continued. "We think it\’s crucial to place the same pressure on the Palestinians."
Earlier Wednesday, the European Parliament formally recognized the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a state "in principle." Lawmakers approved the motion by 498 votes to 88 with 111 abstentions, although it was a watered down version of an original motion which had urged EU member states to recognize a Palestinian state unconditionally.
Hours earlier, the EU provoked a storm of criticism by removing Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations due to an alleged "technical issue."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded with sharp criticism of his own on both votes.
"The friendship of the people of the United States of America with Israel stands in sharp contrast with what we see unfortunately in Europe,” Netanyahu said. “In Geneva they call for the investigation of Israel for war crimes, while in Luxembourg the European Court removed Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations, the same Hamas that has committed countless war crimes and countless terror acts.”
“It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing. But we in Israel, we have learned,” Netanyahu said. “We will continue to defend our people and our state against the forces of terror, tyranny and hypocrisy.”