JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the European Union Wednesday for removing Hamas from its terrorist list, calling it a staggering example of European hypocrisy and an indication that many on the continent have learned nothing from the Holocaust.
The European Union court order to remove Hamas from the EU terrorist list came the same day as a United Nations body in Europe delivered a stinging rebuke to Israel's settlement construction in the West Bank and called for Israel to be investigated for war crimes.
"Today we witnessed a series of examples of European naiveté and, may I add, hypocrisy," Netanyahu said before an audience of international journalists in Jerusalem. "They point to the spirit of appeasement in Europe of the very forces that threaten Europe itself. Too many in Europe are calling on Israel to make concessions that would endanger not only the security of Israel but also paradoxically the security of Europe itself, because Israel is the forward position of European civilization. Israel is the bulwark of European values."
Hamas has carried out dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks against Israeli civilians. The EU court in Luxembourg said it ordered Hamas removed from the list for procedural reasons, while in Geneva Israel was called out for potential war crimes. The pair of developments follows a recent surge in European legislatures making moves to unilaterally recognize a state of Palestine.
"What hypocrisy, what a travesty. I ask: where is elementary European integrity?" Netanyahu charged in his annual address to the foreign media.
Earlier this week, Netanyahu travelled to Rome to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry in an effort to block Palestinian efforts to have the United Nations set a two-year deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. In criticizing the European measures, Netanyahu also invoked the memory of the Holocaust.
"It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing," he said. "But we in Israel, we've learned. We'll continue to defend our people and our state against the forces of terror and tyranny and hypocrisy."