Benjamin Netanyahu, was caught on tape on Wednesday urging four European leaders to help him undermine a provision of a European Union trade agreement that imposes an obligation on Israel to respect the rights of the millions of Palestinians it rules in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In private remarks to the leaders of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia that were accidentally broadcast to members of the Israeli media outside the room, Netanyahu was overheard calling it "crazy" for the EU to insist that Israel honour Article 2 of an association agreement signed in 1995 which makes trade with the bloc conditional on Israel's "respect for human rights and democratic principles."
Recordings of the Israeli leader's comments, made by correspondents for Haaretz and Israel's Channel 2 News, were quickly posted online.
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) July 19, 2017
"The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel," Netanyahu said, "on political conditions – the only one!"
"We have a special relationship with China, and they don't care," he added. "I mean, they don't care about the political issues."
"It's absolutely – may I say – I think it's crazy. I think it's actually crazy," Netanyahu said.