Monday, January 28, 2008

Israeli actions in Gaza ‘not a war crime’ , says EU official (Italian jew)

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=== News Update ===

Israeli actions in Gaza ‘not a war crime’, says EU official (Italian jew)

By: EJP on: 23.01.2008 [18:52 ]

Article image

EJP Updated: 23/Jan/2008 17:06

HERZLIYA (EJP)­An EU official said Israeli retaliation actions in the Gaza Strip “did not constitute war crimes.”

European Commission Vice-President Franco Frattini also said that “Europeans should have understood Israel’s concern sooner.”

Speaking to Israeli reporters on Tuesday in the framework of his visit in Israel, he declared: “We have to take into account that the Gaza Strip has become a base from where rockets are launched every day against innocent people in Israel.”

“Ultimately, Hamas was responsible for the conditions under which Gazans lived,” he added.

Earlier, in a speech to the annual policy conference of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Frattini, who is a former Italian Foreign Minister, said that “Hamas cannot be a viable interlocutor, neither for the international community, nor for the poor Palestinian people who should sooner rather than later realize that Hamas has brought them only disaster.”

In his address, Frattini also said that “Europeans should have understood Israel’s concerns sooner.”

EU Commissioner: ‘I am against collective punishment of Gaza’

“Your predicament in the face of terrorism is the same as ours,” he told the audience.

“There has been a large misunderstanding in recent years between Europe and Israel. For too long, we ignored Israel’s fears and legitimate concerns about terror, fanaticism and the refusal of key groups in the Arab camp to come to terms with Israel’s existence, let alone its legitimacy.”

‘Too much blame on Israel

Israel has been complaining for years about Europe, sometimes not without reason. For too long, European public opinion and some of its leaders put too much of the blame for the failure of the peace process on Israel’s shoulders,” he added.

The EU official also noted that “as friends it was our duty to criticise, politely and respectfully, our friend and ally when we felt that you were in the wrong. But, too often, our criticism fell short of at least acknowledging the dilemmas that Israel faced.”

“We asked our friend to take risks, but did not always offer reassurances that in taking those risks Israel would not be left to stand alone.”

Frattini said that today Europe “is better prepared to take real risks itself and to take on board Israeli concerns and interests in a way that was not on our agenda in the first years of intifada.”

In the course of his visit, the Commisioner met with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter.

“We have decided to hold a joint EU-Israel seminar on financing of terrorism, a subject on which both Europe and Israel shared similar concerns. This would stress the means of increasing the transparency of financial transactions,” he said.

He also discussed Israel’s desire to play a greater role in Europol, the European law enforcement organisation. “We would like to encourage an exchange of data with Israel but this will depend on whether Israel’s legislation on data protection adheres closely enough to European legislation on data protection,” Frattini said.

http://www.ejpress. org/article/ 23426


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