BUDAPEST - The European Union on Thursday rejected criticism voiced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a day earlier at a meeting with the leaders of Hungary, Poland, Czech and Slovakia regarding the organization's conduct towards Israel.
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Netanyahu launched a blistering attack against the European Union Wednesday when, during a closed-session meeting, he said the EU's behavior toward Israel was 'crazy.'
The meeting was held behind closed doors, but Netanyahu's remarks were accidentally transmitted to the headphones distributed among reporters. The transmission was shut down within a few minutes.
“The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, that produces technology and every area, on political conditions. The only ones! Nobody does it,” Netanyahu said.
“It’s crazy. It’s actually crazy,” he continued, referring to the EU’s insistence to condition the EU-Association Agreement on certain terms related to the peace process. “It’s not about my interest. I’m talking about Europe’s interest.
"EU has deeper, broader relations with Israel than with almost any 3rd country & we continue to advance them, economic and political" the EU embassy in Israel tweeted on Thursday.
"Upgrading to next level must be based on our shared values, incl. respect for international humanitarian law, steps to 2-state solution" the message continued.
In his remarks, Netanyahu compared Israel's relations with the EU to those of Israel with China and India, and said "they don't care about the political issues. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he needs water for his people. Where will I get it? Ramallah? No,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israeli cows produce more milk than any other cows in the world – double the European average.
He went on to ask the Central European leaders to “help us and help Europe in expediting the EU Association Agreement.”
He added: “I think that if I can suggest that what comes out of this meeting is your ability perhaps to communicate to your colleagues in other parts of Europe: help Europe – twice. Don't undermine that one Western country that defends European values and European interests and prevents.