BRUSSELS (Jan. 27)
Israel’s military restraint in the face of Iraq’s successive missile attacks is bearing diplomatic fruits in the European Community, which not so long ago was penalizing the Jewish state for its handling of the Palestinian uprising.
In a reversal of policy, the European Commission, the E.C.’s executive body, has decided to lift sanctions imposed one year ago against Israel in the field of scientific cooperation. The European Parliament, the legislative body of the E.C., is expected to approve the decision.
The reversal of fortune was announced Jan. 25 in a telephone conversation between Abel Matutes, the E.C.’s commissioner in charge of Mediterranean problems, and Avi Primor, Israel’s ambassador to Belgium.
Matutes, a Spaniard, expressed his sympathy to the Israeli people and praised the Israeli government’s difficult decision not to respond for the moment to Iraqi provocation.
Matutes himself last year postponed a visit to Israel as a result of the deterioration in E.C. Israel relations.
The warming pro-Israel climate in Europe is also evident in relations between the Belgian government and the Jewish state. Last week, Prime Minister Wilfried Martens said he looked favorably on Belgian participation in a fund to help the absorption of Soviet Jews in Israel.
Martens, who spoke with members of a Jewish delegation, said he would present the idea to his European colleagues during their summit conference.