EU Official Shooting Comments Stir Controversy

News Brief – March 20, 2012

European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has drawn fierce criticism from Israeli politicians over comments following Monday’s shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, which left one teacher and three pupils dead.
Israeli politicians were infuriated by what they saw as Ashton drawing parallels between the attack in Toulouse and the killing of children in Gaza and Damascus.
According to a transcript of Ashton’s speech distributed by the European Union, she spoke of remembering: “young people who have been killed in all sorts of terrible circumstances — the Belgian children having lost their lives in a terrible tragedy and when we think of what happened in Toulouse today, when we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, when we see what is happening in Gaza and in different parts of the world — we remember young people and children who lose their lives.”
Israeli politicians were incensed by Ashton’s comments however. The Zionist state’s foreign and defence ministers demanded she retract them while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he was “infuriated” by what he called “the comparison between a deliberate massacre of children and the defensive, surgical actions” of the Israeli military.
In other words Jewish children killed in a terrorist outrage are one thing. But different rules apply when Israeli soldiers kill innocent Palestinian children.   
In response to the criticism, Ms. Ashton’s spokesman said that she “strongly condemns the killings at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse yesterday and extends her sympathies to the families and friends of the victims and to the people of France and the Jewish community.”
“We want to make this clear, because her words yesterday at the U.N.R.W.A. event were grossly distorted by one of the wires,” the statement continued.
That may not be enough for some Israeli politicians however. Eli Yishai, Israel’s Interior Minister told reporters that Ms. Ashton should not remain in her post as her comments could undermine the EU’s ability to act as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians.

One response to “EU Official Shooting Comments Stir Controversy”

  1. [...] That may not be enough for some Israeli politicians however. Eli Yishai, Israel’s Interior Minister told reporters that Ms. Ashton should not remain in her post as her comments could undermine the EU’s ability to act as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians.   Source [...]