Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday called out European countries for being hypocritical in condemning Israel over its security activities while having no qualms about trading with the Iranian regime which imprisoned a teenage girl for posting a video of herself dancing.
Last week, Iranian state TV broadcast a video of 18-year-old gymnast Maedeh Hojabri tearfully admitting to breaking moral norms, in what may have been a coerced confession, after she was detained for making a video in which she appeared without a head-covering.
“European countries allow themselves to become involved in internal Israeli affairs including the protection of our borders, but they have no problem in giving money to the ayatollah regime that puts an 18-year-old girl in prison for dancing without a head covering,” Liberman tweeted. “If they were a little more upstanding and a little less hypocritical they would cut off all contact until the oppressive, murderous regime of Khamenei and his partners is changed.”
Liberman was apparently referring to European responses to recent deadly clashes on the Israeli-Gaza border, as well as European efforts to keep alive a landmark nuclear deal with Iran by preserving trade agreements.
After the Trump administration in May pulled out of a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, Washington vowed to introduce severe sanctions against Iran. The agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, saw previous sanctions lifted from Iran in return for it curbing the weapons-capable aspects of its nuclear program.
Iran and the other parties to the agreement — the UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia — have all said they will try to maintain the pact, however, US sanctions will likely influence trade and economic ties between Iran and other countries.
Over the past three months, weekly clashes have taken place on the Gaza border, with Israel accusing the Hamas terror group of using the demonstrations as cover to carry out attacks and attempt to breach the security fence. The “March of Return” protests have also seen Palestinians fly airborne incendiary devices toward Israeli territory, sparking hundreds of fires in southern Israel and causing millions of shekels in estimated damages.
On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he was closing the Kerem Shalom crossing, the only cargo route between Israel and Gaza, in an effort to deter the fire kite attacks and border violence. Humanitarian and medical aid is continuing to enter the Strip.
Gaza, under Hamas rule since 2007, has been subject to a strict Israeli and Egyptian blockade for the past 11 years that Israel says is meant to prevent terrorist groups from bringing weapons into the Strip. Egypt also tightly controls the nearby Rafah border crossing into the Sinai.