TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed European “hypocrisy” and “double standards,” saying EU leaders were quick to condemn President Donald Trump for his recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital but remained silent in the face of retaliatory rocket attacks into Israel from Gaza.
The prime minister made his remarks ahead of a two-day trip to Paris and Brussels.
“I ascribe great importance to Europe. While I respect Europe, I am not prepared to accept a double standard from it,” he said. “I hear voices from there condemning President Trump’s historic statement but I have not heard condemnations of the rockets fired at Israel or the terrible incitement against it.”
“I am not prepared to accept this hypocrisy, and as usual at this important forum, I will present Israel’s truth without fear and with head held high,” Netanyahu added.
Violence has erupted in the region and the Muslim world since Trump’s announcement. Terror group Hamas said Trump’s move was a “declaration of war” and called for an Intifada. On Friday, a barrage of rockets was launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip, most of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. One of the rockets was later found in a kindergarten’s yard in the southern town of Sderot, but caused no injuries.
Israeli airstrikes took out two Hamas terrorists.
On Sunday morning, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a security guard in Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, critically wounding him.
Video footage shows the terrorist handing his bags to be checked by the security guard before extracting a knife and stabbing him in the chest. The attacker tried to escape but was chased and tackled by a police officer and a civilian.
In his remarks on Saturday, Netanyahu referred to French President Emmanuel Macron as a “friend.” Macron had expressed France’s “disapproval” of Trump’s Jerusalem move, while his foreign minister said the move effectively “excluded” the U.S. from the peace process. Macron was also reported to have been in talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on how to counter the move.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Trump’s announcement had “the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we are already living in.”
However, some countries expressed support for the move. Czech President Milos Zeman on Saturday blasted European countries for being “cowards” in their response to Trump’s declaration, and further accused the Palestinian leadership of being a terrorist movement.
“The European Union, cowards, are doing all they can so a pro-Palestinian terrorist movement can have supremacy over a pro-Israeli movement,” said Zeman. Last week, Zeman said he was in favor of moving his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Hungary on Thursday also refused to be included in a joint European statement condemning Trump’s move.