Britain considers recalling Israel envoy - source

JERUSALEM Mon Dec 3, 2012 1:20pm IST

A Star of David decorates a lamp post in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem December 2, 2012. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A Star of David decorates a lamp post in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem December 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

Related Topics

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Britain is considering recalling its ambassador to Israel to protest at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to expand settlement building, a diplomatic source said on Monday.

Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that France was also considering withdrawing its envoy.

Both embassies declined to comment on the reports, but the British issued a statement saying they had made clear they would not support strong Israeli retaliation to a U.N. vote last week that gave the Palestinians de facto recognition of statehood.

"The recent Israeli government decision to build 3,000 new housing units threatens the two-state solution and makes progress through negotiations harder to achieve," the British embassy in Tel Aviv said.

"We have called on the Israeli government to reconsider."

A diplomatic source, who declined to be named, said London would decide later in the day whether to recall its ambassador.

Such a move by both London and Paris would represent a severe diplomatic reproach to Netanyahu. Israel's Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon told Israeli 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.

Netanyahu has brushed off world condemnation of his latest settlement plans, which were announced on Friday just hours after the United Nations voted overwhelming to upgrade the Palestinians' diplomatic status.

"We will carry on building in Jerusalem and in all the places that are on the map of Israel's strategic interests," Netanyahu said on Sunday at a weekly cabinet meeting.

Besides authorising 3,000 new homes in and around Jerusalem, the Israeli government also agreed to expedite planning work for thousands more homes on barren land near Jerusalem that critics say would kill off Palestinian hopes of creating a viable state.

In another blow to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Israel announced on Sunday it was withholding Palestinian tax revenues this month worth about $100 million.

Israel said it was taking the money to help cover a Palestinian debt of $200 million with the Israeli Electric Corporation.

(Additional reporting by Dan Williams, Writing by Crispian Balmer, Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

WORLD SHOWCASE

Algerie Crash

Algerie Crash

Bad weather seen as probable cause of Air Algerie crash  Full Article 

Russian Weapons

Russian Weapons

Russia transfer of rocket system to Ukraine rebels imminent - Pentagon  Full Article 

Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage

State judge strikes down Florida's gay marriage ban, stays ruling  Full Article 

Immigration Issue

Immigration Issue

Australia to ship Tamil asylum seekers to its mainland  Full Article 

Iraq Politics

Iraq Politics

Iraq's top cleric sends subtle message to Maliki - step aside  Full Article 

Flights Resume

Flights Resume

Lufthansa, Air Berlin to resume flights to Tel Aviv  Full Article 

Bus Restrictions

Bus Restrictions

China imposes airline-like restrictions on bus passengers in Xinjiang capital  Full Article 

Meat Scandal

Meat Scandal

In China meat scandal, McDonald's Japan switches to Thai chicken, no nuggets in Hong Kong  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage