Israel summons European envoys in settlement dispute

JERUSALEM Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:00am EST

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Avigdor Lieberman attend a Likud-Beitenu faction meeting at parliament in Jerusalem February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Avigdor Lieberman attend a Likud-Beitenu faction meeting at parliament in Jerusalem February 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has summoned envoys from four European states to protest their "one-sided" stand in favor of the Palestinians, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Friday, escalating a quarrel over Israeli settlements.

On Thursday, Britain, France, Italy and Spain called in Israeli ambassadors to hear protests against Israel's latest announcement of settlement-building on land the Palestinians want for a future state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the European criticism "hypocritical", and in a tit-for-tat move, Lieberman said envoys from the four EU countries had been summoned to a meeting in the foreign ministry in Jerusalem.

In a statement, he said Israel would make clear "that the one-sided position they constantly take against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians is unacceptable and creates a feeling that they are only looking to place blame on Israel."

Last week Israel announced plans to build 1,400 new homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, where more than 500,000 Jewish settlers already live.

Most countries deem Israel's settlements as illegal and the European Union routinely condemns any new building moves.

Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed East Jerusalem in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally and in 2005 pulled out of Gaza, now run by Hamas Islamists who oppose peace talks with the Jewish state.

Israel and the Palestinians resumed U.S. brokered peace talks in July after a three-year deadlock. The negotiations have shown little sign of progress so far.

The future of settlements is a core issue in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinians fear Israeli building will deny them contiguous territory they see as crucial to a viable country and have warned that their expansion could derail the peace talks.

Israel says the issue should be solved within negotiations.

Netanyahu, whose coalition government includes pro-settler parties, has defended recent expansion in settlements that he says Israel would retain in any future peace deal.

"Israel is making great effort to allow the dialogue with the Palestinians to continue and the position these states are taking, beyond it being biased and unbalanced, is significantly harming the chances of reaching an accord," Lieberman said.

(Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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Comments (5)
let’s start calling these “settlements” what they truly are; they are government-subsidized housing units, for JEWS ONLY…it’s a throwback to the apartheid era in S. Africa and the Jim Crow era in the US South….democratic states should not be afraid to label this as government-approved Jewish supremacy in action.

Aid to the nuclear scofflaw Jewish theocracy should have been suspended decades ago…the West, feeling Holocaust guilt, created a monster in Palestine….we created it, we will have to destroy it, before it destroys us in a fit of nuclear rage and Holocaust revenge.

Jan 17, 2014 7:04am EST  --  Report as abuse
lJayl wrote:
isn’t it funny that when the Palestinians claim places where Jews are already settled as “contiguous territory they see as crucial to a viable country”, everyone is on their side and condemns Israel, but when Israel says “we need this land to preserve our country and without it we won’t be able to defend against attack and Israel is as good as dead” (ie it’s contiguous territory crucial to a viable country).. no one cares? it’s almost as if they don’t care if Israel can defend itself or not hmmmmm?

Jan 17, 2014 7:17am EST  --  Report as abuse
FRPSR wrote:
Israel has perfected the losing strategy of winning every tactical engagement until the discomfort in their calloused diplomacy leaves them alone with no allies .
Who really could possibly trust being friends with a state that not only never loses , but is never wrong ?
Is it really so wrong to buy and sell living people , while buying and selling (bribe) another countries representation . The huge annual disbursements granted to you from the multitudes of their poorest citizens , it is fair to give that to their wealthiest few , no ?
Is it so wrong to start a hot war when you were not threatened , in order to gain territory , while attacking your strongest ally ?
If your answers are clearly to do whatever you must without restraint , you must be so very happy .
Happy right up until you question your own existence , all alone with your sterile Apart Hate State .

Jan 17, 2014 7:27am EST  --  Report as abuse
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