Israel’s prime minister on Monday accused the international community of “deafening silence” in response to recent vows by the head of the Hamas militant group to fight on until the Jewish state is destroyed, appearing unmoved by the gathering storm of global condemnation of his government’s plans to continue settling the West Bank.
Bibi Netanyahu’s tough words were likely to deepen the rift between Israel and some of its closest allies, particularly in Europe, that has emerged since the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of Palestinian independence last month. In a sign of the tense relations, European Union foreign ministers were gathered in Brussels to condemn new settlement construction that Netanyahu has authorized in response to the U.N. decision.
Speaking to foreign reporters, Netanyahu accused the international community of having double standards, condemning not-yet-built settlements in the West Bank while standing quiet during a visit to the Gaza Strip by Hamas’ exiled leader, Khaled Mashaal.
Netanyahu also directed his ire at Hamas’ rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, for not speaking out.
“This weekend the leader of Hamas, sitting next to the Hamas leader of Gaza, a man who praised Osama Bin Laden, this weekend openly called for the destruction of Israel. Where was the outrage? Where were the U.N. resolutions? Where was President Abbas?” Netanyahu said.
“Why weren’t Palestinian diplomats summoned to European and other capitals to explain why the PA president not only refused to condemn this but actually declared his intention to unite with Hamas. There was nothing, there was silence and it was deafening silence,” he added.
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