European Parliament members discuss U.N. vote during Israel visit

THE HAGUE (JTA) — Four members of the European Parliament met with Israeli leaders during a solidarity visit to Israel after its conflict with Hamas.

The members of the European Parliament  returned to Brussels on Dec. 3, after touring the areas hit by Hamas rockets during the recent fighting that erupted on Nov. 14 on both sides of the border dividing Gaza from Israel.

The visit by Marek Siwiecof Poland, Hannu Takkula of Finland, Bastiaan Belder of the Netherlands and Frederique Ries of Belgium was organized by the European Friends of Israel, an international group which aims to act as a framework for pro-Israel lawmakers.

During the visit, the lawmakers met President Shimon Peres and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, among other officials, and discussed the ramifications of the United Nations General Assembly vote to recognize Palestine, and European voting patterns on Israel, among other issues, according to an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman.

The delegation visited Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashdod, and several towns near Gaza, and did not visit the West Bank. The visit was scheduled approximately two months ago.

“Our plan for next year is not to focus solely on political issues,” David Saranga, minister counsellor at Israel’s mission to the European Union, said. “Together with EFI we are looking for ways to make Israel relevant to a big number of members of the European Parliament by bringing Israel’s experience in the fields of innovation, agriculture, technology, health care and medicine.”

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