The foreign ministries of France, Britain and Sweden on Monday summoned and sharply rebuked the Israeli ambassadors to their countries, following a series of steps taken by Israel in response to the Palestinian move to receive nonmember observer state status at the United Nations. An Israeli official quoted by Israel Radio said the tone of the rebukes was “harsh and very unpleasant.”
A British Foreign Office spokesman issued an severely worded condemnation of the move, and called on Israel to reverse the decision.
“We deplore the recent Israeli government decision to build 3,000 new housing units and unfreeze development in the E1 block. This threatens the viability of the two state solution,” the spokesman said. “Any decision about any other measures the UK might take will depend on the outcome of our discussions with the Israeli government and with international partners including the US and European Union.”
Elsewhere in Europe, Germany and Russia joined the chorus of condemnations, with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeting a steady stream of denunciations.
The latest round of condemnatory measures comes amid reports by Haaretz and Sky News that the UK and France were considering, among other measures, recalling their ambassadors from Israel in response to the Israeli government’s announcement Friday that it was authorizing new construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
A Foreign Ministry official on Monday morning told The Times of Israel that some European countries had registered protests in the wake of the Israeli announcement, but said the ministry was unaware of any move to recall the ambassadors of the UK and France.
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.”
Both France and Britain summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their countries on Monday to express disapproval over plans to expand West Bank settlements, as reports swirled that the two European countries were considering the harsher move of recalling their own ambassadors.
Britain's Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt summoned Daniel Taub, Israel's ambassador in London, for talks on the issue. "The Minister set out the depth of the UK's concerns," a British Foreign Office spokesman said. A diplomatic source, who declined to be named, said London would decide whether to recall its ambassador later in the day.
France called Ambassador Yossi Gal to a meeting, but played down reports it could recall its ambassador. "There are other ways in which we can express our disapproval," an official told Reuters. "The ambassador has been summoned in order to express our disapproval," foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said.
Israel Radio reported that Sweden also summoned Israel's ambassador for discussions on the issue.
Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon told Army Radio he was not aware of any recall. "I did not hear of this, either via the foreign ministry or the prime minister's office. Therefore I have a hard time believing it is true," he said.
France and Britain have both condemned Israel's plans to build more settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, saying international confidence in Israel's desire to make peace with the Palestinians was at risk.
Friday’s announcement of the additional units and the planning work to be done on E1 was the government’s immediate reaction to the Palestinians’ successful move to upgrade their status at the UN General Assembly to that of non-member observer state.
Germany urged Israel to refrain from expanding settlements but said a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Berlin this week would go ahead as planned.
"We appeal to the Israeli government to desist from this procedure (for building more settlements)," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference, adding that the plans undermined efforts to revive peace talks by reducing the land available for a future Palestinian state.
Asked whether the issue might jeopardize Netanyahu's visit to Germany, Seibert said there was no change in the schedule: "The chancellor (Angela Merkel) expects Mr Netanyahu for dinner and talks on Wednesday evening... We expect an open discussion between friends."
Russia also urged Israel to reconsider the plans, saying building new homes would undermine any chance for direct peace talks.
Russia "views these Israeli intentions with the most serious concern", the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "Implementation of the announced plans for large-scale settlement activity would have a very negative effect on efforts to resume direct negotiations aimed at a two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," it said.
Any sense of lasting peace is antithetical to the mission of Hamas. To see what I mean, check out the Hamas Charter. Below are some choice quotes from the Charter, with some sections highlighted in bold. Clearly, any notion of a lasting peace will be impossible until Hamas changes its charter dramatically.
Quotes from the Hamas Charter:
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times. It is characterised by its deep understanding, accurate comprehension and its complete embrace of all Islamic concepts of all aspects of life, culture, creed, politics, economics, education, society, justice and judgement, the spreading of Islam, education, art, information, science of the occult and conversion to Islam.The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.
The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).
The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.
Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.It is the duty of the followers of other religions to stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region
“Say unto those who believe not, Ye shall be overcome, and thrown together into hell; an unhappy couch it shall be.” (The Family of Imran – verse 12). This is the only way to liberate Palestine.