UK: Israel at greater risk if US peace bid fails

Alistair Burt, UK Under Secretary of State, calls on sides to forgo preconditions, says Israel risks isolation.

June 12, 2013 12:07
1 minute read.
Alistair Burt

Alistair Burt 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Israel is in danger of being further isolated in the international arena if Washington’s latest push for Middle East peace ends in failure, according to a senior British official.

Alistair Burt, who serves as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and the top Foreign Office official in charge of dealing with the Mideast, told Army Radio on Wednesday that both Israel and the Palestinians must ensure that US Secretary of State John Kerry’s mission be a success.

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“If the Kerry initiative ends in failure, the repercussions will be very inconvenient to Israel,” he told Army Radio. “The danger of Israel’s isolation will become greater than ever unless a solution is found.”

“If the initiative doesn’t succeed, the United Kingdom will be very concerned over the consequences,” he said. “Both Israelis and Palestinians need to act now in order to take advantage of the opportunity that has been created by the American secretary of state.”

Burt said that he was opposed to preconditions, a major sticking point that has delayed the resumption of talks. The Palestinians insist that Israel freeze construction in the West Bank before agreeing to sit down for negotiations, while Israel has balked.

“Both sides need to recognize the fact that if they want a two state solution, the time to advance it is now,” he said. “We fear that the door to this possibility is closing. Without a solution, Israel’s future will apparently be much more difficult than it is today.”

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