Brussels, November 24th, 2017 – The European Coalition for Israel is delighted to learn that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been invited to Brussels next month for an informal breakfast meeting with EU Foreign Ministers in conjunction with the monthly EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting to discuss issues of mutual concern. Netanyahu is officially invited by the government of Lithuania although EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini has not yet confirmed the meeting.

“This visit is long overdue and is a good prelude to the upcoming 70th anniversary of Israeli independence next year”, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said in the televised European Report talk show in the European Parliament on Thursday. He was supported by co-panelists Alex Benjamin from Europe Israel Public Affairs and Danish MEP Anders Vistisen who is the current Deputy Chair of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee.

This will be the first time in over 24 years that an Israeli Prime Minister has been invited to Brussels in an official capacity.
“The State of Israel is the natural partner for Europe in the current fight against radicalization and terrorism”, Sandell said in Brussels on Thursday.
Since the latest wave of terrorist attacks hit Europe, security cooperation between EU member states and Israel has reached an all time high. This is also the case in France where Netanyahu will make a stop-over to meet French President Emmanuel Macron before arriving in Brussels.

Earlier in the autumn, a small political group on the extreme left hosted Leila Khaled, a convicted Palestinian terrorist, at an event in the European Parliament which drew strong criticism from other members of the chamber. MEP Anders Vistisen and MEP Bas Belder initiated a letter of complaint to the President of the European Parliament asking him to take action in order to prevent convicted terrorists from entering the European Parliament. The letter was signed by 59 Members of the European Parliament.
In a statement in Brussels on Wednesday, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani condemned the visit of Khaled, saying that Europe should not give a platform to a convicted terrorist, and promised to systematically deny access to all persons, groups or entities involved in terrorist acts.

In the European Report talk show on Thursday, one of the initiators of the letter of complaint, MEP Vistisen, welcomed the decision by the President and said that he was looking forward to the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Brussels.

The international board of the European Coalition for Israel was officially received by the Israeli Prime Minister in Jerusalem in the autumn of last year when he expressed his desire for closer relations with the nations of Europe.

His visit is scheduled to take place on December 11th, just two weeks after the 70th anniversary of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 and one day before the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.