Israel Thanks Europeans for Condemning Abduction
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called his counterparts in Britain, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Belgium and Norway on Tuesday and thanked them for issuing condemnations of the abduction of three teenage boys, for showing solidarity with Israel and for the clear position they expressed on the matter.
Liberman is to call more foreign ministers Wednesday.
Foreign Ministry sources noted that over the past few days, senior Israeli diplomats worked with these and other countries in order to make clear to them the details of the abduction and its meaning. In the conversations with his opposite numbers, Liberman also discussed other Middle Eastern affairs, including the relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority following the unity government established by the PLO and Hamas.
Those efforts appear to have borne fruit; apart from verbal condemnations, Norway announced Tuesday that it would be suspending a major international funding meeting for the Palestinian Authority.
Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesman Frode Anderson said that in his government's view "the situation is not conducive to having an AHLC meeting at this point," referring to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), which is responsible for coordinating international funding of the PA and is chaired by Norway. The meeting was set to take place in Oslo on June 25.
Although he did not refer to it directly, the statement was a fairly clear reference to the kidnappings which have gripped Israel over the past five days and which have been blamed on the PA's "unity partner" Hamas.
Liberman told the ministers that "Israel is determined and will do everything in order to bring about the release of the three boys, and will severely punish those responsible for the abduction."
Liberman, who is currently on a diplomatic tour of Africa, has been raising the subject of the abduction in his meetings with heads of state, all of whom condemned the kidnapping and emphasized the need for tighter cooperation with Israel vis-à-vis Islamist terrorism, which has also been striking eastern and western Africa.