Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening. In a joint press conference, the prime minister praised Vienna for voting in favor of new Security Council sanctions against Iran.
"Austria made an important move," he said. "Now it's time for the United States and European Union to impose firm sanctions against Tehran, especially in terms of fuel, oil distillates and exports. All this can have an affect."
Addressing the decision to ease the siege on Gaza, Netanyahu said that "the Israeli government has decided that all goods can enter Gaza. What won't be allowed to pass are weapons and warfare-supporting means. In the coming days we will publish the list. This is a fundamental and important change in Israel's policy, and we are already seeing a change which will only increase in the extent of goods entering the Strip."
He went on to discuss the flotillas planning to sail to Gaza in the coming days, some of which were initiated by Hezbollah and Iran.
"They are not organized by peace supporters but by peace opposers. Their real goal is to create a provocation against the siege on the import of missiles and rockets. Now they have a new method: Using women to demonstrate their cynicism. The same forces, which are the darkest in the world, where women have no freedom, are organizing flotillas against Israel. It's time to put an end to this hypocrisy."
He asked to convey a message to the flotillas' supporters. "I call on all peace activists across the world, go to the places where women are really oppressed, where homosexuals are hung in squares, places where there are no human rights.
"Go to Tehran, go to Gaza. Anyone who really cares about human rights should support the democratic and liberal Israel. Those who really want to care about human rights should also care about (kidnapped soldier) Gilad Shalit. The international community must stand by Israel in a firm demand to release him immediately."
Netanyahu and Faymann (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)
Faymann said the world hoped to advance peace in the Middle East. He said the goal was to lead to a non-violent process, which would be accelerated through moves like lifting the civilian blockade while preventing the inflow of weapons into Gaza.
Improving the living conditions of the civilian population in the Strip was the European Union's top priority as it concerned giving them their basic human rights, he said, but added that Israelis must be allowed to fulfill their rights as well.
The Austrian chancellor added that his country would always be willing to help Israel improve its relations with its neighbors. I know the prime minister supports the two-state solution in accordance with the International Quartet's stand, he said.
Faymann's visit to Israel was held as scheduled although many Austrians had urged him to call off the trip due to the flotilla incident. Some 2,500 people rallied in Vienna earlier this month and called on the chancellor to halt the cooperation between Austria and Israel.