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Dragoş Ciocârlan, corespondent RRA în Israel

19 Iulie 2018
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Israeli Foreign Ministry, Emmanuel Nahshon, in an exclusive interview offered recently to Radio Romania News (RRA) Correspondent in Jerusalem, Dragoş Ciocârlan.

RRA Exclusive Interview with Israeli MFA Spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon


Emmanuel Nahshon. Photo: video capture.

Romania "is a very friendly country towards Israel". Friendship and close relations between Israel and Romania will also find expression in 2019, when Romania will hold the six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union - said spokesperson of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Emmanuel Nahshon, in an exclusive interview offered recently to Radio Romania News (RRA) Correspondent in Jerusalem, Dragoş Ciocârlan.

Among other issues, Emmanuel Nahshon also spoke about the financial assistance the EU has offered to the Palestinian Authority. Interview has also been disseminated through the European Broadcasting Radio (EBU) platform.

RRA Reporter: How do you estimate Jerusalem's relations with the European Union?

Emmanuel Nahshon: We are enjoying very good and very positive relations with the European Union. And when I say the European Union, I mean both Brussels, the EU institutions and, of course, the EU Member States. It can be seen that the dialogue is a good, profound and close one on a variety of issues - from science and technology to culture - of course, security, because security issues are very important. It is no secret that there are some misunderstandings between Israel and the institutions of the European Union, especially with regard to the Palestinians, but if we put that aside, I would characterize the relations as very good and very positive.

RRA Reporter: Romania is preparing to take over from Austria, for six months, the rotating Presidency of the European Union, on 1 January 2019. What are Israel’s expectations?

Emmanuel Nahshon: We have great expectations from Romania, because Romania is a very friendly country towards Israel. And we are sure that this friendship and the close relations between our countries will find their expression during Romania's Presidency of the EU. We believe it is also important that the voice of Eastern European countries be heard in Brussels, because they have some very important messages. They have a different perspective on many issues and it is important that this voice is heard.

RRA Reporter: Incitement campaign against Israel benefited from European funds too. Has anything changed? What is happening today?

Emmanuel Nahshon: We have started to see a very interesting change over the past year or the past two years in terms of European funds going to Palestinians. If in the past the EU was sending a lot of money without checking what was happening to them, we now see that there are more and more demands and more decisions to try to understand exactly where this money is going. It is no secret the fact that for a long time, EU money has financed terrorism and corruption. There are two aspects, because when you give money and do not check what is happening to them, they get in the wrong hands and they are some who use them to finance terrorism - for example, to support the Palestinian budget, targeted for the families of terrorists who are now in Israeli jails and also corruption - because we know that much of this money does not actually reach the population and remains in the pockets of some of the leaders of the Palestinian Authority. By creating increased transparency and clearer evidence, I think the European Union is doing a very important thing. Of course, it is useful to the EU itself and is important for the EU taxpayers, but it is also important for the Palestinians because they need to start building their own economy and they will have to stop believing that the money will continue to come, no matter what and no matter how they are used.

RRA Reporter: Will Israel continue to provide humanitarian aid to Syrians?

Emmanuel Nahshon: Israel has provided humanitarian assistance to the Syrians for many years. We have treated many Syrians in Israeli hospitals and we will continue to do so. We are now offering humanitarian aid to those who escape conflict in the southern part of the Syrian Golan, in the Deraa area and elsewhere. It is a moral obligation that we intend to honor, because we do not want to see those in our neighborhood in such a tragedy. We know that this will not solve the problem in Syria, but it is our little contribution to stabilizing the region and the good of this population. Finally, those who suffer from these wars and conflicts have no responsibility, they are not involved. We are talking about simple people, who are the victims of this collision, of this war between Bashar al-Assad, backed by Hezbollah and Iran, and the internal Syrian militia associated with extremist Islamic elements. The one that suffers is the population and we are trying to do everything we can to help this population.

RRA Reporter: There is a security threat at the northern border, the Iranian presence and Shiite militia in Syria involved in the battle with Bashar al-Assad. Does the European Union understand this?

Emmanuel Nahshon: We have a very close dialogue with the European Union to explain the challenges we are facing in reference to Syria. I believe that these issues are well known in Europe, and they can be linked to other issues Europe has, especially Islamic terrorism in Europe, but also the issue of refugees or immigrants arriving in Europe from the Middle Eastern. So I think it is very clear to Europe that everything that happens in the Middle East has an immediate effect on the European Union. Syria is not so far from Europe, and anything that happens here also affects Europe. We need to address these challenges together, by cooperating at the level of information exchange, at political and security level. This is the common direction for Israel and the European Union.

RRA Reporter: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas welcomed violent demonstrations at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Situation remains tense.

Emmanuel Nahshon: We are facing a violent situation in Gaza for about two months or maybe three. We know that Hamas is the source of the incitement to violence. Hamas was behind recent protests, some of them very violent, unfortunately for which force had to be used to ensure that violent people would not enter the Israeli state to commit acts of violence in Israel. We do not interfere with the relationship between Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. It is not our concern. This is an internal Palestinian issue and they have to decide. What we say very clearly is that we want to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, we want to talk to the Palestinian Authority and it is up to them if they decide to talk to us or not. If their Number One priority is Palestinian unity, they need to understand that we will not be able to talk to them unless Hamas recognizes Israel's right to exist and renounces terrorism and violence. These are the clear conditions of Israel.

RRA Reporter: Israel-Greece-Cyprus trilateral co-operation has strengthened, while Ankara resumed its hostile speech.

Emmanuel Nahshon: It is important to clarify that we are not at the zero point of a game. At the same time, we can have good relations with Greece and Cyprus and also with Turkey, not because relations with Turkey are not good, and we now have good relations with the two countries. We have good relations with Greece and Cyprus, because we share common interests and share the same vision of the region. Regarding what is happening with Turkey, we would be glad if the voices from Turkey were more moderate, favoring the expansion of cooperation. Unfortunately, this is not the case at this time, but if we have good relations with Turkey, we will continue to have good relations with Greece and Cyprus. We are talking about natural gas, economic cooperation, we have the same strategic vision of the region and its future. The Eastern Mediterranean basin is very important. We look in the same direction, we are trying to promote prosperity and stability.

Source:RRA.Translated by Miruna Matei

Etichete interviuexclusivitateIerusalimpurtătorul de cuvânt al MAE israelianEmmanuel Nahshon

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