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‘You’re pissing me off!’ Israeli diplomat reportedly yells at European envoys

Aliza Bin Noun loses cool after diplomats from 16 countries use routine meeting on West Bank to present list of concerns regarding Israeli conduct beyond Green Line

Then-Israel ambassador to France Aliza Bin Noun, 2015. (CC BY-SA Erez Lichtfeld, Wikimedia Commons)
Then-Israel ambassador to France Aliza Bin Noun, 2015. (CC BY-SA Erez Lichtfeld, Wikimedia Commons)

A recent meeting between a senior Foreign Ministry official and a group of diplomats and ambassadors from 16 European countries quickly deteriorated into a dressing down by an Israeli official hosting the summit, according to a Thursday report.

The incident took place two weeks ago when the European delegation arrived at the Foreign Ministry for a routine meeting to discuss the situation in the West Bank, according to Walla news.

While the European diplomats were expected to raise concern regarding the uptick in settler violence targeting Palestinians, they also used the opportunity to bring up objections to settlement building plans and other issues.

Diplomats expressed concerns over Israeli advancement of construction in the contentious E1 area between Jerusalem and the Ma’ale Adumim settlement as well as controversial Israeli plans to build in the Givat Hamatos neighborhood of East Jerusalem. They also mentioned other conduct in Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israeli control.

The concerns were presented by the British-led delegation in an official letter to Aliza Bin Noun, Israel’s former ambassador to France who now serves as the director of the European Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry.

Bin Noun responded that the letter was insulting.

“After everything the new Israeli government has been doing for the Palestinians, you come to complain?” Bin Noun shot back, according to Walla.

Since the new government was sworn in last June, it has announced the approval of thousands of permits for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to work in Israel. It has also approved hundreds of building permits for Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank — a step that has not been taken in years.

But the government has also advanced plans for thousands of residences beyond the Green Line on par with figures seen during previous coalitions. It has also allowed the illegal outposts of Homesh and Evyatar in the northern West Bank to remain standing.

Workers take a break before European Union officials visit the construction site for the Givat Hamatos neighborhood in East Jerusalem, on November 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Refusing to address the points raised by the Europeans, Walla reported that Bin Noun reportedly shouted back: “You are pissing me off.”

The European diplomats said the atmosphere was bad and quickly got out of control, with the meeting breaking down and ending in a “big crisis.”

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liot Haiat appeared to confirm the report, telling Walla that “sometimes, European positions are presented in a manner that is unacceptable to us and this deserves a sharp and clear response, even if our reaction isn’t nice toward the Europeans.”

The December incident came as the new government works to improve relations with European allies, which had frayed under former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has attempted to mend ties by meeting with representatives of countries who have been among Israel’s loudest critics, such as Ireland and Norway.

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