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Israeli officials on Tuesday condemned remarks by the EU’s foreign policy chief, which allegedly drew parallels between the shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse and the situation of children in Gaza, AFP reports.Speaking at an event for Palestinian youth refugees, Catherine Ashton paid tribute to children “who have been killed in all sorts of terrible circumstances.”
“…the Belgian children having lost their lives in a terrible tragedy and when we think of what happened in Toulouse today, when we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, when we see what is happening in Gaza and in different parts of the world…” she said, according to reports in Haaretz.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was incensed by “the parallel between the pinpoint slaughter of children … and the Israeli military’s defensive surgical strikes against terrorists who use children as live shields,” the AP reports.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman joined the criticism, saying Ashton’s comments “were not appropriate and he expressed the hope that she would re-examine and reverse them,” his office said.
Ashton strongly denied that her comments drew any parallel between the Toulouse attack, which left four people dead at a Jewish school, and the situation in the impoverished Palestinian territory, saying her words had been “grossly distorted”.
The EU has now issued a corrected version of Ashton’s speech. The new transcript mentions the situation of children in both Gaza and the southern Israeli town of Sderot after the first version only mentioned the Palestinian territory, AFP reports.
“When we see what is happening in Gaza and Sderot, in different parts of the world — we remember young people and children who lose their lives,” the transcript reads.
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