Mr. Danon, who is also a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, says he was surprised by the diplomatic backlash from Europe because it showed a double standard after last week’s successful Palestinian bid to be recognized as a state at the United Nations.
“The message is very clear: if the Palestinians will take unilateral steps, Israel will do the same,” he says. “I haven’t seen any similar [European] response to recent Palestinian steps.”
But a fellow member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Nachmann Shai, says Israel’s retaliatory settlement moves are detrimental to its global standing and reflect an about-face, after Netanyahu so carefully worked to get international opinion on Israel’s side during the eight-day Gaza campaign that ended Nov. 21.
“We lost this credit overnight because we didn’t know how to react to the Palestinian request at the UN,” says Mr. Shai, who has represented Israel’s interests to the world in many different positions over the course of his career, including as spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces. “The fact that we reacted by challenging the world community by doing something that we know for sure will make them angry … it’s like shooting ourselves in the leg, it’s against our interests.”
The Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment.
Some have characterized the dispute as the result of hurt feelings on both sides. European officials, who have shown more sympathy to Israel’s concerns than those of their own constituents – most recently sticking their necks out to support Israel’s recent military operation in Gaza – can’t help but feel that Israel has proven ungrateful.