Several European capitals on Monday summoned Israeli ambassadors to sharply express unhappiness over Israel’s plans to significantly expand settlement construction, as anger over the move worldwide continued to simmer.
In Washington, the White House called on Israel to reconsider its plans to develop the controversial E1 tract of land east of Jerusalem in the West Bank.
Yet officials in Jerusalem said they would not back down from the plan, which is seen as a punitive measure against the Palestinians for going to the United Nations to be upgraded to a nonmember observer state.
The foreign ministries of France, Britain, Spain, Denmark and Sweden on Monday summoned and sharply rebuked the Israeli ambassadors to their countries. An Israeli official quoted by Israel Radio said the tone of the rebukes was “harsh and very unpleasant.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that the administration was calling on Israel to reconsider the plan and urged restraint.
“We urge Israeli leaders to reconsider these unilateral decisions and exercise restraint as these actions are counterproducti
ve and make it harder to resume direct negotiations to achieve a two state solution,” he said.
The US State Department said it “opposes all unilateral actions, including West Bank settlement activity and housing construction in East Jerusalem.” In a statement by Mark C. Toner, Washington stated the policy “includes building in the E1 area as this area is particularly sensitive and construction there would be especially damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution.”
Elsewhere in Europe, Germany and Russia joined the chorus of condemnations, with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeting a steady stream of denunciations.
Critics charge that development of the E1 tract would effectively choke off the northern and southern parts of the West Bank and make a contiguous Palestinian state a near-impossibility.
Israel has come under intense international criticism for the construction decision. On Sunday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson issued a scathing rebuke, saying that the move “risks completely cutting off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank” and that “it would represent an almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-state solution.”
But Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, a member of Netanyahu’s inner circle of nine ministers, rejected the mounting pressure on the government. “Anyone who thinks Ma’aleh Adumim is not going to be connected to Jerusalem is mistaken,” he told Army Radio on Monday.
There are several points worth considering based upon the information presented above.
1 - As we can see from the above, the goal is to have the West Bank and Gaza connected via a "land mass" - which would literally divide Israel in two separate halves. It's at least nice to see this 'dirty little secret' exposed to the public (quote above by UN Secretary-General).
2 - It isn't mentioned above, but thankfully many publications are revealing the fact that by going directly to the UN (note the true "unilateral decision", a point that is often and conveniently overlooked, while Israel is accused of unilateral actions) - the "PA" nullified the Oslo Accords which was the only document preventing Israel building in these areas. The "PA" decided to invalidate the Oslo Accords, not Israel. So, apparently "the nations" feel that Israel should adhere to the Oslo accords, while the PA can ignore the Oslo agreements. Interesting.
3 - We see yet even more evidence of "the nations" categorically turning against Israel
4 - Isn't it interesting that the most vocal voices against Israel are the EU - which will morph into the "ten kings", and in turn, will engage in the most virulent anti-semitism and Christian persecution that the world has ever seen - and Russia - aka the "land of MaGog" - offering similar condemnation; the same Russia who will, in the near future, lead a massive invasion of Israel
So none of this is the least bit unexpected.
The Jerusalem Municipality will reportedly fast-track approval for thousands of new homes in areas of the city east of the Green Line, including a much-disputed neighborhood in the city’s north and an entirely new neighborhood in the city’s south, Israeli media reported Monday night.
The move will likely further exacerbate tensions that have arisen since Israel announced Friday it would step up settlement construction as a response to the Palestinians’ upgraded status at the United Nations.
Some 1,700 units are scheduled for approval by the municipality in Ramat Shlomo, a largely ultra-Orthodox neighborhood on the northern outskirts of the city. The construction plans were initially okayed a year ago, during a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden.
The municipality will also green-light the construction of the first new neighborhood beyond the Green Line since the 1997 decision to build Har Homa.
Thousands of apartments are to be approved in Givat Hamatos, located next to the Jewish neighborhood of Talpiot and the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa
An official in the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, said Israel would “fulfill its vital interests even in the face of international pressure and will not reverse its decision.”
United in hate (so much for the "ceasefire"):
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar on Monday called on Fatah to join his movement in the fight against Israel and to stop wasting time and effort with the peace process.
Zahar’s call came as Hamas and Fatah representatives stepped up their efforts to end their differences and achieve “national reconciliation.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters in Ramallah that his top priority now was to end the rivalry with Hamas, and said he saw no reason why the two sides could not reach an agreement on holding presidential and parliamentary elections.
Speaking at a rally for Hamas supporters in Gaza City, Zahar said, “Our hands are extended to Fatah to join the program of [armed] resistance and the liberation of Palestine.”
PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef said that Fatah and Hamas were now waiting for an invitation from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to hold reconciliation talks in Cairo.
The Egyptians, he noted, have been exerting heavy pressure on the two parties to end their differences and form a Palestinian unity government.
The warnings come after US intelligence detected signs the Syrian regime was moving the chemical weapons components around in several of Syria’s chemical weapons sites in recent days, according to a senior US defense official and a second US official speaking on Monday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about intelligence matters.
According to another senior US official, the US is worried about “indications of preparations” for a possible use of the chemical weapons. The US still doesn’t know whether the regime is planning to use them, but the official says there is greater concern because there is the sense that the Assad regime is under greater pressure now.
US intelligence also intercepted communications within the last six months between Iran’s infamous Quds Force, urging Syrian regime members to use its supplies of toxic Sarin gas against rebels and the civilians supporting them in the besieged city of Homs, the former US official said.
“In Syria, they have everything from mustard agent, Sarin nerve gas, and some variant of the nerve agent VX,” according to James Quinlivan, a Rand Corp. analyst who specializes in the elimination of weapons of mass destruction.
International observers are now more worried than they’ve even been that the Damascus government could use its nerve agent stockpile to slaughter its own people, the report said.
The U.S. doesn’t know why the Syrian military made the move, which began in the middle of last week and is taking place in central Syria, nor are they sure why the Assad government is transferring some weapons to different within the country, as the New York Times reported on Monday.
"Physically, they’ve gotten to the point where they can load it up on a plane and drop it,” the official told Wired.com.
Israel has expressed concern that the chemical weapons arsenal maintained in Syria will indeed end up in the wrong hands – specifically, the hands of Hizbullah or other terrorists who aim to annihilate the Jewish State.
A report published Monday by The Atlantic indicated that Israel has consulted with Jordan twice over the issue of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, both times with plans to take out multiple sites. working for President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria have begun combining the two chemical precursors needed to weaponize sarin gas, an American official with knowledge of the situation told Wired.com’s Danger Room on Monday.