Israel protests Belgium PM's meeting with critical groups

AP News
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Posted: Feb 09, 2017 7:41 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has reprimanded Belgium's ambassador over the Belgian prime minister's meetings with liberal Israeli groups critical of the government's policies.

Israel's Foreign Ministry says Ambassador Olivier Belle appeared Thursday for the reprimand, took note of it and transmitted the complaint to Brussels.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the measure after visiting Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel met with members of the human rights group B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence, a group of former Israeli combat soldiers who criticize Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank.

Many Israeli leaders have portrayed the latter group as traitors, in part because their reports and lectures are often aimed at foreign audiences.

Netanyahu says he has ordered legislation that will prevent foreign government funding of organizations that harm Israeli soldiers.