Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, Silvan Shalom, has called on the European Union (EU) to stop paying aid to Palestinian agencies until terror is renounced in the Palestinian territories .
Mr Shalom, who as well as being Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister is the Minister of the Interior, was speaking to the German newspaper Bild prior to Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled visit to Germany. In the interview he spoke about the situation regarding the uptick in Palestinian terror activities in the State of Israel over the last few weeks, EU aid to Palestinians and the role of European countries in general.
“The Palestinians get a lot of money from the EU. That should be stopped for as long as Palestinians don’t understand that terrorism is not a way to achieve their political goals. “
Aid payments from EU countries, such as Britain, have in the past been been criticised for being used to incite Palestinian violence. In 2013 the European Commission, as a sole institution, gave the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East $216,386,867 (the United Kingdom separately gave $93,737,454).
Mr Shalom said that he values Chancellor Angela Merkel as a “close friend of the State of Israel”, an impression he gained having met with her himself, and hopes that she maintains that commitment within the EU.
Responding to the fact that two German tour companies have suspended trips to Israel in the light of recent events, Mr Shalom said such a response was an overreaction:
“I was just in the Old City of Jerusalem and the situation is calm, because we have a lot of security forces on the spot. Many people have a false impression of Israel, believing they could be shot on every corner. The opposite is the case and I hope that many people view the place as our wonderful country where there are so many attractions and stunning landscapes.”
Mr Shalom also warned European countries against reaching out to Iran, something which he believes is short-sighted. He said one European head of state told him sanctions threaten standards of living at a time of economic crisis, to which he replied:
“…you talk about the standard of living, I’m talking about life. First we secure life, then we can discuss the standard of living.”