Jerusaelm: The Palestine statehood approval by UN was a major diplomatic coup for the Palestinians but a stinging slap in the face for Israel, which had lobbied hard to prevent it, arguing that it would cripple peace hopes.
Israel was agitated and it declared to build 3,000 settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Not just this, Israel halted tax payments it collects for the Palestinians in response to their successful bid to raise their UN status.
A total of 460 million shekels (about $120 million) would be withheld from the Palestinians, reported the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
After such extreme measures by Israel, it was time for European powers to react and condemn its actions.
In an unprecedented move, Britain and France declared that they may recall their envoys from Israel in protest against its decision to expand settlements. It is reported that Sweden, Denmark and Spain have also asked their ambassadors to Isreal to protest the move.
“These activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed Israel’s decision to make shelter homes. UK also slammed Isreal attempts to create an unstable environment in Middle East."If implemented, these plans would alter the situation on the ground on a scale that makes the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, increasingly difficult to achieve," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday expressed "grave concern" at newly announced Israeli settlement plans, warning that that it would prove to be a “fatal blow” to peace efforts.
"In the interests of peace, any plans for E1 must be rescinded," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
Ahead of a Netanyahu visit this week, Germany, considered Israel's closest ally in Europe, urged it to refrain from expanding settlements, and Russia said it viewed the Israeli moves with serious concern.
But dsepite European pressure, Isreal sem adamant on its stance. “We will carry on building in Jerusalem and in all the places that are on the map of Israel’s strategic interests,” Mr Netanyahu had said.
First Published: Monday, December 03, 2012, 19:56