Settlement Plan Slammed by Britain and France

U.S. Says Retaliation for U.N. Vote is Counterproductive

By Reuters

Published December 01, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Britain and France condemned on Saturday a plan by Israel to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying international confidence in its desire to make peace with the Palestinians was at risk.

Stung by a UN vote according de facto recognition to a Palestinian state, Israel on Friday said it would build thousands of new settler homes, including in a wedge zone between Jerusalem and the West Bank, known as E1, which Washington considers especially sensitive.

The United States, one of just eight countries to vote alongside Israel against the Palestinians at the U.N. General Assembly, said the latest expansion plan was counterproductive to any resumption of direct peace talks stalled for two years.

France, which voted with the Palestinians, and Britain, which abstained, had tougher censure for Israel, which wants to keep all of Jerusalem and swathes of West Bank settlements under any future peace accord. Most powers view the settlements as illegal for taking in land captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

“If implemented, these plans would alter the situation on the ground on a scale that makes the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, increasingly difficult to achieve,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.

“They would undermine Israel’s international reputation and create doubts about its stated commitment to achieving peace with the Palestinians.”

MANIFEST DESIRE

Hague’s French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, spoke of E1 as “the new colonisation zone” and said the Israeli expansion plan could “drain the confidence needed for a return to dialogue”.

“I call upon the Israeli authorities to abstain from any decision in this direction and to manifest clearly their desire to restart negotiations,” Fabius said in a statement.

Israel says Thursday’s upgrade of the Palestinians’ status at the United Nations to “non-member state” from “entity” could allow them to sidestep disputes such as territorial demarcation that should be addressed in negotiations.

The Israelis were further incensed by what they deemed an inflammatory U.N. speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and said the upgrade resolution neglected the Jewish state’s security and need for its own sovereignty to be recognised.

Abbas also claims the Palestinian sovereignty in Gaza, but the coastal strip is ruled by rival Hamas Islamists who are deeply hostile to the Jewish state and fought an eight-day war against it last month.

The Israeli settlement plan was disclosed to the media by officials in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative government who spoke on condition of anonymity, a reticence suggesting the expansion had not been formally finalised.

Asked about the plan on Israel’s Channel 2 television on Saturday, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon denied it was in response to the Palestinians’ U.N. upgrade.

“We are building, and we will continue to build, in accordance with our interest, not in accordance with the reaction of anyone else,” Ayalon said.

Interviewed separately on Channel 2, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that, if implemented, the Israeli settlement plan would be “most detrimental” to peace prospects.

“The challenge to all of us now is to use what happened two days ago (U.N. upgrade), to build on it, rather than spend too much time either, you know, thinking ‘This is the end of the road’, which it isn’t, from our point of view, or continue to sulk about it and express protestation and anger,” he said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.