European Council Express Their Supports for Israel's Rights

on Wednesday the European Council agreed (minus Hungary) on a resolution calling for a cease-fire.
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini shake hands during a press conference at the European Council in Brussels on Dec. 11, 2017. EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP

"I condemn, with the utmost firmness, the attacks against Israel from the Gaza Strip", said  Sebastian Kurz, Austin Chancellor, last week after making the unusual decision to fly the Israeli flag on official buildings in solidarity with the country facing Hamas rockets attack on its cities.

"Israel has the right to defend itself against these attacks" he added.

Kurz is known to have court Israel in the last few years, most likely to deflect criticism for his alliance with the far-right Freedom Party of Austria.

Austrian chancellor isn't an outlier among European leaders in expressing support for Israel, on Wednesday the European Council agreed (minus Hungary) on a resolution calling for a cease-fire.

European leaders have been vocal in expressing their support for Israel's right to defend it's citizens since the start of this new round of violence between Israel and Hamas. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called Hamas rockets "terrorist attacks", and the German political class on the left and right, in the midst of parliamentary campaign, has echoed her support for Israel.

"The National interest of the modern German State" said Green candidate and current poll leader Annalena Baerbock while calling on Israel security.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged these statements of support, thanking U.S. President Joe Biden but also European leaders, specifically "the President of France, the British prime minister, the chancellor of Germany, and others".

"They have upheld our natural our natural and self-evident right to defend ourselves, to act in self-defense against these terrorist who both attack civilians and hide behind civilians."

This was not always the case. EU relations with Israel were famously cold for decades. During the Second Intifada, the EU took pains to counterbalance the George W. Bush administration’s embrace of the Sharon government. Public opinion was hostile. In a 2003 poll that had provoked much controversy, 59 percent of Europeans named Israel the gravest threat to world peace. Protests and calls for boycotts were common. However, the mood is changing.