Britain yesterday summoned the Israeli ambassador amid deepening international anger at plans by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu to extend settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Ambassador Daniel Taub was ordered to the Foreign Office to be told of “the depth of the UK’s concerns” about the plan for 3,000 more homes for Jewish settlers by Alistair Burt, minister for the Middle East. The foreign ministries of France and Sweden also called in their Israeli ambassadors as governments across Europe voiced dismay at the implications for the peace process.
The Foreign Office indicated “other measures” could follow depending upon the outcome of talks with the Israelis and international partners, including the US and the European Union.
Israeli prime minister Mr Netanyahu announced the settlement plan after the United Nations General Assembly backed a call for de facto recognition of a Palestinian state.
Even more controversially, the Israelis said they would end the block on development on a tract of land known as E1 linking the West Bank to East Jerusalem.