To mark International Human Rights Day, veteran NIF grantee B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories is featuring an exhibition of photographs of 50 Palestinians born in 1967, the year that Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. The exhibit titled “50 Years” has been on display at the Jaffa Port for the past week.
Incoming EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret decided to hold an official reception on Thursday at the exhibit in honor of International Human Rights Day and to mark 50 years since the occupation began. Other foreign ambassadors are expected to attend the event, which has angered the Israeli government. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said, “For reasons unknown, the EU people believe that the way to Israelis’ hearts is by spitting in their faces.”
This is not the first time that the Israeli government has tried to prevent European diplomats from hearing from Israeli human rights champions. In February, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Foreign Ministry to reprimand Belgium’s ambassador to Israel after Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel met with representatives from B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence. Then in April, Netanyahu canceled a scheduled meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel after the later refused Netanyahu’s demand that he not meet with the two human rights groups.
Netanyahu is due to meet 28 EU foreign ministers in Brussels next week.