Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with European leaders was an opportunity on many levels.
First, the prime minister fearlessly took center stage in nations where Islamic terror and street opinion is outwardly anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and anti-West.
Second, Netanyahu was able to firm up economic, social and political ties, especially with Germany’s Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. Israel and France are opening a six-month program called “France-Israel” Season. Of course, anti-Israel protesters have already tried to stop the opening of the event,
Netanyahu answered questions mostly dealing with his opinion on the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, or JCPOA, the same Obama administration-led accord between the P5+1 nations and Iran. As recently as Tuesday, Netanyahu, while standing at a podium next to Macron, indicated that he had never asked the French leader to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. He did say, however, that Israel believes that now that the Trump administration has decertified the deal and the U.S. will be slapping Iran with renewed sanctions by year’s end, that is hopefully all the agreement needs to fall apart on its own.
Macron did criticize the U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem, saying that it will result only in “conflict.”
But Macron did express concern along with Netanyahu over the spreading dangerous influence of Iran in the Middle East, especially in Syria.
Netanyahu had his work cut for him in Western Europe, but he stood fast and strong in dialogue that while Western European support of Israel is so important, the reverse is also true: France, Britain and Germany need a strong Israel and an Iran kept in check.
This was the central reason for Bibi’s trip to Europe.
We know that the European leaders understand the Middle East’s volatile landscape.
We hope they also understand who their only genuine regional friend really is.