A secret report prepared by European Union official on the gaps between the Jewish and Arab communities in Israel
has reportedly enraged Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
and other top Jerusalem officials, the British Independent said on Tuesday.
The confidential 27-page brief outlined a large number of indicators suggesting that Israeli Arabs "suffer from economic disparities, unequal access to land and housing, discriminatory draft legislation and a political climate in which discriminatory rhetoric and practice go unsanctioned," the paper said.
While the report criticizes some Israeli Arab leaders over their "disloyalty to Israel," the majority of criticism is leveled at Israel, which it claims fails to address the major issues plaguing the Israeli Arab sector.
The brief's circulation has reportedly irritated the Foreign Ministry, which slammed the diplomats for drafting it "behind our backs": "We were not informed, consulted or approached about this document, which was allegedly written by EU diplomats," a ministry spokesman said.
The European Union often criticizes Israeli policies, especially regarding West Bank settlements,
but according to the Independent, it is "unusual in tackling highly sensitive issue."
According to the British publication, the report indicates "that the erosion of Israel's founding ethos – as a Jewish homeland but one committed to treating all citizens equally – will reinforce those who seek to 'delegitimize' Israel and damage its international standing."
The EU's draft also stated that the international community should look at Israel's treatment of its minorities "as a core issue, not second tier to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
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