UK Foreign Secretary William Hague 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina)
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 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."
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.
'We have a right to build in our eternal capital'
PA, opposition decry West Bank building decision
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.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Wednesday also addressed
the announcement, saying that "it's clear that the policy of continued
settlement makes the renewal of talks more difficult."
Westerwelle urgently called on both Israelis and Palestinians to refrain
making additional unilateral moves that delay the peace process."
A statement from the German Foreign Ministry added that Westerwelle was very concerned by the hardening of stances in the region.
"Germany supports the goal in which an independent Palestinian state is
established as part of a just solution of two states for two peoples," the statement added.
Criticizing the Palestinian application and subsequent acceptance to
UNESCO, Westerwelle said he believes that two-states can be achieved
only through negotiations. "There are no shortcuts, such as requests for
membership in international organizations, though which one cannot
change the reality on the ground and which are an obstacle to progress