UK Foreign Secretary William Hague Wednesday leveled harsh criticism at and condemned Israel's decision to accelerate settlement building in response to the Palestinians' acceptance to UNESCO. Israel's announcement, he said, "is a serious blow to the Quartet's efforts to restart peace negotiations."
The plan announced by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government on Tuesday "is illegal under international law and is the latest in a series of provocative and unhelpful settlement announcements," Hauge charged.
The UK foreign secretary also expressed concern over Israel's decision to withhold the transfer of Palestinian tax revenue, which it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. "This is in no-one's interests, least of all Israel's, since it has direct implications for the Palestinian Authority's ability to maintain effective security in the West Bank," he said.
The UK, he added, calls on Israel to reverse both decisions and for both Israelis and Palestinians "to show the courage and leadership necessary to achieve a return to negotiations."