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Ashton Denies Comparing Toulouse with Gaza

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has categorically denied that she compared the murders in Toulouse with deaths in Gaza.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/20/2012, 2:56 PM

Catherine Ashton
Catherine Ashton
Reuters

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has categorically denied “grossly distorted” reports that she compared the murders in Toulouse with deaths in Gaza.

“The High Representative referred to tragedies taking the lives of children around the world and drew no parallel whatsoever between the circumstances of the Toulouse attack and the situation in Gaza,” according to a statement from her office.

Leaders on both sides of the Israeli political fence railed at Ashton Tuesday for her reported comments that “when we think about what happened today in Toulouse, we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, and we see what is happening in Gaza and in different parts of the world - we remember young people and children who lose their lives."

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman demanded a retraction, and Opposition leader Tzipi Livni called the remarks "outrageous.”

The original report was carried by Agence France Presse (AFP) and was verified by an official of the EU. AFP has not commented on the report,

In her denial, Ashton stated she “strongly condemns the killings at the Otzar HaTorah school" and she expressed her sympathies to the victims’ families, to the French Jewish community and to the entire country.