Israel reprimands Slovenian envoy for recognizing Palestinian statehood

Continuing his online trolling campaign against countries recognizing Palestine, FM Katz posts AI image of Spanish leaders with egg on their face after EU election loss

People hang a Palestinian flag in front of the Slovenian Parliament building after the National Assembly recognized a Palestinian state in Ljubljana, on June 4, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
People hang a Palestinian flag in front of the Slovenian Parliament building after the National Assembly recognized a Palestinian state in Ljubljana, on June 4, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Israel on Monday dressed down the ambassador of Slovenia over her country’s recognition of a Palestinian state, telling her the move was a reward for Hamas terrorism.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Ambassador Andreja Purkart Martinez was reprimanded “for her government’s warped decision to recognize a Palestinian state, which is in contradiction to EU policy and the position of most of the Like-Minded countries.”

The statement said that during a conversation it was emphasized that the statehood recognition “does not promote peace, it encourages the Hamas terrorist organization and it makes it difficult to promote a deal for the release of the hostages.”

The dressing down came after the Slovenian parliament last week passed a decree recognizing a Palestinian state, following the similar recognition by three other European states.

Fifty-two members of the 90-member parliament voted in favor of the government-sponsored decree to recognize a Palestinian state after a chaotic six-hour parliament session.

“Today’s recognition of Palestine as a sovereign and independent state sends hope to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and in Gaza,” Prime Minister Robert Golob wrote on the government’s account on X after the vote as the Palestinian flag was raised in front of parliament.

The opposition boycotted the vote except for one lawmaker who attended but abstained.

Spain, Ireland and Norway recognized a Palestinian earlier in the month, bringing to 145 the number of the United Nations’ 193 member states that have done so, according to Palestinian authorities.

Israel has reacted with anger to the moves, saying it is a a “reward” to Hamas for its October 7 atrocities, in which terrorists killed some 1,200 people and took 251 hostages.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz has responded with a series of diplomatic steps against the countries, while also launching an online campaign trolling their leaders, particularly in Spain.

He continued on Monday, posting a rather undiplomatic message on X mocking Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his deputy Yolanda Diaz for the results of their parties in the European elections.

“The Spanish people have punished @sanchezcastejon and @Yolanda_Diaz_ coalition with a resounding defeat in the elections,” wrote Katz about the pro-Palestinian politicians, alongside an AI-generated picture of them with cracked eggs on their faces. “It turns out that embracing Hamas murderers and rapists doesn’t pay off.”

Diaz ended a May speech with the slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Her party only won three seats in the European Parliament elections, and she announced she would step down as leader of the far-left Sumar party. Diaz will remain a minister and deputy prime minister, however.

Sanchez’s socialist PSOE party dropped into second place behind the center-right People’s Party, but limited gains by the far-right allowed his minority government to remain in power.

Katz, who took the helm of the Foreign Ministry from predecessor Eli Cohen in January as part of a coalition power-sharing deal, has posted sometimes eyebrow-raising messages online in the past few months, at times accompanied by strangely photoshopped images.

A number of Israeli diplomats have spoken out anonymously against Katz over what they called his undiplomatic habit of trolling countries on social media over decisions he disagrees with.

A recent report in The Financial Times cited two diplomats lamenting the approach as embarrassing and ineffective.

“It’s just weird… I think he thinks it works,” one was quoted as telling the British newspaper. “But it’s not effective. People see it as aggressive and offensive, not as an effective means of communication.”

Another told the outlet that “I don’t think any other foreign minister is doing what he’s doing,” as the report added that Katz’s posts “have been met with a mixture of bafflement and eye-rolling.”

In response to the recognition of the state of Palestine by Spain, Norway and Ireland, Katz posted a series of mocking videos, including one interspersing a couple flamenco dancing with footage of Hamas’s October 7 massacre and the tagline: “Hamas thanks you for your service.”

Another post boldly declared “The days of the Inquisition are over,” referring to the 15th Century Spanish persecution of Jews.

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