5 European Nations Summon Envoys of Israel

West BankBritain, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark summoned Israeli ambassadors to their countries on Monday to protest Israel’s plans for an increased settlement construction, an unusually sharp diplomatic step that reflected the growing frustration abroad with the Israel’s policies on the Palestinian issue. After General Assembly voted overwhelmingly last week to upgrade the status of the Palestinians at the United Nations, Israel announced plans for 3,000 more housing units in contested areas of East Jerusalem and around the West Bank. Israel raised particular alarms with its decision to continue planning and zoning work for the development of a contentious area known as E1, a project vehemently opposed internationally because it would partially separate the northern and southern West Bank, harming the prospects of contiguous Palestinian state in that territory. The move raised questions in Israel about whether country’s leaders were putting domestic political interests ahead of its foreign relations, with the Israeli elections scheduled for late January. “Bibi had to do something” in response to the United Nations vote, said Prof. Shmuel Sandler of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan Universiy, referring to the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname, “first because he is Bibi and second because of the elections.” Mr. Sandler said that Mr. Netanyahu, a conservative, was making the mistake of competing against those farther to the right, adding, “But I don’t think he expected such a reaction” internationally. Israel remained defiant. The prime minister’s office issued a statement on Monday, saying, “Israel will continue to stand for its essential interests, even in the face of international pressure, and there will be no change in the decision it has taken.” A press officer for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement on Sunday that construction in E1 “would represent an almost fatal blow to the remaining chances of securing two-state solution.” European countries long opposed to Israeli settlement construction went beyond their usual statements of condemnation. Countries called in Israeli ambassadors “expressed their strong protests about the announced settlement plans,” said Yigal Palmor, spokesman for Israeli Foreign Ministry. Mr. Palmor said that the Israeli ambassadors told their hosts that Israel had been warning for months that the Palestinian bid at the United Nations would not go unanswered and that it would have implications. Israel has described the bid as a unilateral Palestinian step that violates previous signed agreements. The Palestinians have long refused to negotiate with Israel without a halt in settlement construction (…..)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/world/middleeast/5-nations-summon-israeli-envoys-to-protest-settlement-plans.html

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8 Responses to 5 European Nations Summon Envoys of Israel

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Israel’s hard line policy towards the Palestinians is a losing proposition. The country became a pariah State, isolated from the world community. However, one should recognize that Israel’s elite has achieved a major feat in modern history. It is the only country in the world that became developed and prosperous under the aegis of the United States. As long as the US taxpayers continue to pay the bill, Israel will be OK.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/world/middleeast/5-nations-summon-israeli-envoys-to-protest-settlement-plans.html

  2. Europe is furious with Israel for its plan to build 3,000 new settler units to punish the Palestinians, following their elevation to “non-member observer status” in the UN last week. While sanctions appear not to be on the table, German commentators say it is time to get tough with Israeli premier Netanyahu (…..)

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/german-commentators-blast-israel-for-settlement-building-plan-a-870924.html

  3. (…..) By pulling this old threat out of the hat, Israel invited the predictable condemnations, and then some. After the U.N. vote Clinton said of the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas that he had taken “step in the wrong direction this week,” but then she added that Israel was also being difficult and had set “back the cause of a negotiated peace.” Washington must have been especially frustrated with Israel since it had just stuck its neck out by casting just one of nine votes against upgrading the Palestinian Authority’s status. The Israeli government had no good options, of course, and so was prone to making a mistake. It couldn’t take a step that might result in the collapse of the more moderate Palestinian Authority and risk the rise of radical Hamas. It is isolated, with very few friends that support its policies toward Palestinians. And it faces elections soon, with the threat to the governing party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu coming from the right — where demand for retribution against the Palestinians is high — rather than the center-left, which is weak and fractured. In the end, Israel’s announcement to build at E1 was unwise. The government could have pointed to the Palestinian Authority’s unilateralism to argue that it is Palestinian rejectionism that makes peace unlikely — a case that actually makes sense. Instead, it countered unilateralism with unilateralism, rejectionism with rejectionism, and made itself guilty of the same charges. What’s more, given the diplomatic outcry over Israel’s announcement about E1, the government will be hard pressed to execute the plan. In other words, it will have issued a threat that lets Palestinians cry foul but doesn’t really scare them anymore.

    http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/the-un-votes-on-palestine-and-israel-shoots-itself-in-the-foot/

  4. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: One question on US-Israel that puzzles foreigners. Why do American-Jews –representing less than 1% of the US population — have absolute control of US foreign policy regarding the State of Israel? In practice, Israel exists and thrives as the US 51st State with all benefits (particularly security- defense) and no obligations such as paying taxes. A remarkable achievement by the American Jewish community in the last 40 years.

    http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/the-un-votes-on-palestine-and-israel-shoots-itself-in-the-foot/

  5. El nudo ha ido creciendo con los años. Es lógico el pesimismo, porque cada vez que alguien ha intenta desanudarlo lo único que ha conseguido es embrollarlo más todavía. Si observamos con atención veremos que no es un nudo, sino tres. Cuando uno se afloja los otros quedan más firmes. Así es Oriente Próximo. El mayor nudo aparentemente es el que ata a israelíes y palestinos en una confrontación casi siempre violenta desde hace unas siete décadas. Aunque los israelíes apelen a una historia de tres milenios, es el nudo más joven, hijo directo del siglo XX. Conocemos la fórmula para desanudarlo y es la que aprobó la Asamblea General de Naciones Unidas hace 65 años adjudicando una parte del territorio entre el Jordán y el Mediterráneo a los judíos y la otra a los palestinos, es decir, los dos Estados en paz y seguridad conviviendo uno al lado del otro. Entonces no la admitían las autoridades árabes y ahora no la quieren las autoridades israelíes. El segundo nudo es el que opone desde hace siglos al sectarismo chiita con el sectarismo sunita, transformado ahora en una guerra civil siria entre el régimen apoyado por Irán y una oposición armada que recibe el auxilio de las monarquías petroleras de la península arábiga y de Turquía. Más amplias son las ataduras que lo vinculan, por un lado con un frente de países árabes y occidentales, con Washington a la cabeza, y por la otra con Rusia y China, potencias proclives a tomar ventaja de cualquier desventaja de Estados Unidos. Este nudo huele a guerra fría del siglo XXI. El tercer nudo está en Egipto y es el más antiguo, y de ahí que sea crucial para desanudar a los otros dos. En él están atados y enfrentados desde épocas milenarias el poder faraónico y la voluntad democrática del pueblo. Con la primavera árabe creímos que empezaba a desanudarse. La llegada del islamista Mohamed Morsi gracias a las urnas hizo creer que el nuevo rais intentaría deshacer también el nudo de Siria y luego el de Palestina. Mandó una severa advertencia al régimen de El Assad, demostró después su capacidad de mediación entre Gaza e Israel con la tregua que obtuvo tras la guerra de los misiles. Aunque promete desanudar los tres, cada gesto suyo aprieta más el nudo egipcio, pues se acompaña de una mayor concentración de poder en sus manos, primero en detrimento del ejército y del parlamento y luego de la judicatura. Cada uno de los tres nudos está compuesto de otra infinidad más de nudos más pequeños. Deshacemos uno con la tregua en Gaza, otro con el reconocimiento internacional de Palestina y otro más con la acotación del poder presidencial en Egipto después de haberlo ampliado, pero luego la inscripción de la sharia en la Constitución egipcia anuda de nuevo el poder del pueblo al de los Hermanos Musulmanes. Cuanto más viejo el nudo, más difícil de desanudar.

    http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2012/11/30/actualidad/1354308671_841670.html

  6. (…..) It’s not the first time that Israel’s prime minister has aroused displeasure in Berlin. In September 2011, Merkel also made her disapproval of Netanyahu’s policy publicly known. In a phone conversation she said she lacked “any understanding” for Jewish settlement plans in Jerusalem. Merkel also allowed her government spokesman to convey her frustration openly — an unusual occurrence. Yet Netanyahu has been undeterred. He answered the decision by several EU states to summon their Israeli ambassadors with another act of defiance, announcing he would expedite the construction of another 1,600 housing units in Ramat Shlomo, an ultra-Orthodox settlement in East Jerusalem. Even employees of the Israeli foreign ministry have been angered by this behavior, according to Israeli media reports. The newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth wrote that it’s completely understandable for the diplomats that Israel’s actions would be perceived in Europe as defiant and vindictive. Europeans are truly angered this time around, the daily said — even Germany, Israel’s closest ally. Jerusalem is looking very closely at Germany’s behavior. Netanyahu told German daily Die Welt that he was “disappointed” by Merkel, though he appreciated the chancellor’s support during the most recent Gaza conflict, he said. “At the same time it would be insincere if I were to hide that I was disappointed over the German abstention at the United Nations — like many in Israel,” he added. Yedioth Ahronoth called the German abstention at the UN General Assembly “the heaviest diplomatic blow.” The newspaper Haaretz has also speculated over whether Germany would even support European sanctions against Israel. European leaders, however, say sanctions are not on the table at the moment. Indeed, no one in Berlin is thinking of sanctions. Israel has always been able to count on German solidarity when it comes to existential questions. The most recent Gaza conflict is proof of that. When the radical Islamist Hamas fired rockets into Israel and the Israeli air force took action, Merkel and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle emphasized German ties to Israel. At the same time, though, Germany took pains to maintain contact with the Palestinian Authority and Egypt (…..)

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/netanyahu-airs-complaints-ahead-of-visit-to-berlin-a-871199.html

  7. Outside, Berlin has been covered with a thin layer of fresh snow, the first of the winter. Inside, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are smiling into the cameras, eager to show unity after recent days of divergence. The two are well aware that the two countries are bound together in a special and complicated relationship. German history is always a companion when the two meet. This time was no exception. Following the meeting at the Chancellery, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle joined his Israeli guest for a visit to a memorial at the Grunewald commuter train stop in Berlin. During the Third Reich, Jews were loaded onto trains at the site for their final journey to the death camps in the east.


    Given that horrific history, Merkel told Netanyahu that she is fully aware “what a pleasure it is that we can cooperate today.” She praised the two countries’ collaboration when it comes to education and research, and extolled Israel as being the only democracy in the Middle East. The message was clear: The German-Israeli relationship is so solid that occasional differences of opinion are not a threat.

    And on Thursday in Berlin, the pair made little effort to hide those differences. On Wednesday evening, prior to Thursday’s high-level meetings between Israeli and German cabinet members, Netanyahu joined Merkel for dinner in the Chancellery. The two talked about bilateral cooperation, but also about the current situation in the Middle East, including in Egypt, and the danger of chemical weapons in Syria. They also talked, of course, about the plans recently announced by Netanyahu’s government to build 3,000 new housing units for settlers near Jerusalem (…..)

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/merkel-and-netanyahu-pledge-friendship-in-berlin-despite-differences-a-871458.html

  8. The United Nations has recognized a Palestinian state and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to prefer confrontation over negotiation. But in an interview with SPIEGEL, Israeli President Shimon Peres says that there is no alternative to re-starting peace talks, adding that it is time to forget the past (…..)

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-interview-with-israeli-president-shimon-peres-on-peace-a-871911.html

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