Gaza rockets ‘proof’ that withdrawals bound to fail, Erdan tells US diplomats

Gaza rockets ‘proof’ that withdrawals bound to fail, Erdan tells US diplomats

In Jerusalem, senior minister urges envoys to ‘persuade’ European governments to stop funding BDS organizations

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Minister Gilad Erdan briefing US officials in Jerusalem, May 5, 2019 (courtesy)
Minister Gilad Erdan briefing US officials in Jerusalem, May 5, 2019 (courtesy)

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan Sunday told visiting American diplomats that the current rockets attacks from Gaza on Israel proved the failure of any strategy that includes territorial withdrawals.

“The current situation in Gaza is proof of the failure of the approach calling for Israeli withdrawals. If we relinquish full control of Judea and Samaria, Judea and Samaria will become Gaza and rockets will then be launched at the State of Israel,” he said, using a Biblical term to describe the West Bank.

Erdan was alluding to Israel’s 2005 Gaza Disengagement, when it uprooted thousands of settlers from the Strip and pulled out Israeli forces.

In 2007, the Hamas terror group which calls for Israel’s destruction, ousted the Palestinian Authority from Gaza in a bloody coup and has ruled there ever since.

Over the last two days, Gaza terrorists have fired more than 600 rockets into Israel, killing 4 people and wounding at least 10. The air force has responded with dozens of raids on terror infrastructure in Gaza.

The US administration is expected to release its comprehensive proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace next month. Its authors have repeatedly said that the plan will stress Israeli security arrangements. It is not clear whether it will entail calls for Israeli territorial withdrawals.

Erdan, a member of the security cabinet, was briefing a group of seven US ambassadors to European countries, as well as US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism Elan Carr, in his Jerusalem office.

The group came to Jerusalem this week after attending the March of the Living in Poland during Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day on Thursday.

Erdan, who also serves as strategic affairs minister and as such is also responsible for Israel’s fight against the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, briefed the US officials on what he claims is the European funding for “boycott and delegitimization organizations in Israel,” according to a readout provided by his office.

“We must ensure that the United States examines the BDS organizations that have connections to terrorist elements,” he said.

Erdan said he asked US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin  to examine the activity of the BDS National Committee’s activity in America, saying he had “evidence showing they maintain contact with internationally-recognized terrorist organizations.”

In January, Erdan’s office published an in-depth report accusing the European Union of funding organizations that support BDS organizations to the tune of millions. At the time, the EU responded by saying that it opposes BDS, but will defend freedom of speech.

“We must ensure that EU funds do not reach boycott organizations hiding behind human rights organizations when human rights are the last thing that interests them,” Erdan told the US officials on Sunday, urging them to “persuade European governments to stop funding for boycott and delegitimization organizations.”

Headed by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the delegation consisted of the American envoys to the EU, Germany, Portugal, France, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

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