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EU parliament chief 'insulted' by Israeli minister walk-out

April 5, 2014 at 3:45 pm

The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz said he was “surprised” by the reaction of the Israeli Financial Minister Naftali Bennett during his speech in the Knesset, German newspaper Die Welt said on Thursday.

The Israeli news website Walla reported another European official saying that Schulz was “surprised” and “feels insulted”.

Schulz said: “I was surprised and concerned by the harsh reaction, because I gave a pro-Israel speech.”

Trying to downplay the incident, Schulz said: “The people who disrupted my speech belong to a party of hardliners who answer every critical word that bothers them in this way. US Secretary of State [John] Kerry was attacked by them in the same way.”

The website described Schulz as “Israel’s friend” who travelled there to express solidarity amongst the wave of European boycotts. It said he wanted to show support to Israel and such reactions “encourage anti-Israelis”.

Meanwhile, Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz described Bennett’s reaction as a “childish show”. The newspaper noted that these reactions “have broken the record of shame and triviality”.

Ha’aretz criticised the interventions of Israeli government members, saying that Bennett, the head of the Jewish Home party, forgot he was a member of the government and acted the same as a “member in a youth party”.

Bennett got angry when Schulz cited a Palestinian youth who had told him that Gazans receive a fraction of the water allocation given to Israelis. He later called this: “German lies.”