Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered his ministry Friday morning to summon the ambassadors from the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain to Jerusalem, in order to protest what he called “one-sided” policies against Israel.
These policies, evidently relating to Israel’s settlement-building, are “unacceptable, and give the sense that they are just looking for ways to blame Israel,” read a statement released Friday by Liberman’s office.
Liberman also instructed his office to tell the European ambassadors that Israel is making a major effort to enable the talks with the Palestinians to continue, and that their countries’ policies harm the chances of reaching a settlement between the sides.
The move comes a day after Israeli ambassadors in several European capitals, including London, Rome and Paris, were called in by their host countries to hear complaints over last week’s announcement from the Ministry of Housing and Construction that it had approved tenders for 1,400 new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem
The announcement had been expected after Israel released 26 long-serving Palestinian prisoners in late December, part of a deal made last summer when Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed.
In addition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that expanding existing Jewish settlements does not impede the peace talks with the Palestinians.
“I don’t think it’s an obstacle to peace at all,” Netanyahu said at an event organized by the Government Press Office in Jerusalem. “Because the fact is that Jews live here on this land. I mean, what do they want, an ethnically cleansed state? They want to uproot people? I don’t think that’s going to advance peace.”
Netanyahu said the move by some EU states to summon Israeli ambassadors was hypocritical:
“The European Union called in our ambassadors in the EU because of the construction of a few houses? When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors to complain about the incitement that calls for Israel’s destruction? When do the Palestinian ambassadors get called in to hear complaints about the fact that security officers in the Palestinian security forces are participating in terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis?”
SOURCE: LAZAR BERMAN
The Times of Israel