The EU Presidency has met the Israeli President but with background rumbling. “We are in the process of reviewing our policy; don’t rush us.” — That was Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Israeli media, which says the Israeli Prime Minister has criticised EU calls to freeze a planned upgrade of ties.
Europe insists the Netanyahu government commit to the Middle East peace process. Haaretz newspaper says he told visiting outgoing Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the EU presidency: “Don’t set conditions for us.” Brussels said it expects a halt to of all activities undermining the objective of a two-state solution with the Palestinians. It cited the expansion of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories continuing every day. EU countries’ intention to enhance ties went cold when Israel rained death and destruction on civilians in the Gaza Strip, after Hamas militants repeatedly fired rockets against ordinary Israelis. Europe is the number one donor of aid to the Palestinians.