Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday addressed the European Parliament in Brussels, emphasizing Israel’s strong ties with Europe but also stressing that the continent’s lack of respect the Jewish state’s sovereignty—whether it be through “misunderstanding” or “impatience”—needs to be addressed.
“My European friends, we cannot agree on everything. But as friends and as true allies, I call upon you and ask you, let us be patient. Please respect the Israeli considerations, even when different from your own. Respect Israeli sovereignty, and the democratic process of its decision-making. Respect Israel’s staunch commitment, indeed its very duty, to protect its citizens. For us it is the most sacred commandment of all,” Rivlin said.
Rivlin also spoke about the state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Currently, the practical conditions, the political and regional circumstances which would enable us to reach a permanent agreement between us—the Israelis and the Palestinians—are failing to materialize,” he said.
Rivlin expressed his appreciation of Europe’s desire to see the conflict end, but said that the recently launched French initiative to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal has “fundamental faults” and that such efforts only push a solution to the conflict further away. A French peace summit held in Paris in early June excluded Israeli and Palestinian representatives.
“If the international community really wishes and truly aspires to be a constructive player, it must divert its efforts away from the renewal of negotiations for negotiations’ sake, and toward building trust between the parties, and to creating the necessary terms for the success of negotiations in the future,” Rivlin said.