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Talon

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Israel 'worried over world image'

By Sebastian Usher

BBC world media correspondent

A secret Israeli report warns Israel's world image could fall as low as South Africa's during the apartheid era in the next decade, local media report.

Israeli army radio said the report had been prepared by the foreign ministry.

The station said the report's main finding was that Israel could end up being regarded as a pariah state.

It said the report, which focuses in particular on Israel's relations with Europe, says Israel and the EU could find themselves on a collision course.

The report cites several issues on which Europe has recently expressed strong criticism of Israel including the separation barrier being built between Israel and the Palestinian territories.

It also refers to what's been seen as the re-emergence of anti-Semitism in Europe, which - the report says - denies the very legitimacy of the Israeli state.

The report clearly shows Israel's sensitivity to its international image and how it feels the world - aside from the US - has increasingly turned against it in recent years.

It seems likely to feed into the fierce debate in Israel over the country's political and military strategy and how it is perceived abroad.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/worl...ast/3740682.stm

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