Britain's ambassador to Tel Aviv said on Friday that the "violent Israeli practices" in the occupied Palestinian territories, at the top of which are settlements, are creating international isolation for Israel. Matthew Gould's comments were reported by Israeli TV's Channel 10.
"The positive image that Israel is trying to reflect to the world is deteriorating in the light of the violent practices it carries out against Palestinian citizens in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip," said Gould. That includes, he added, "the continuous policy of building illegal settlements on the lands owned by Palestinian citizens in the West Bank".
Mr Gould noted that the international position of Israel is deteriorating continuously and the level of support the country has is decreasing. The reason, according to Mr Gould, is the emergence of human rights activists, parliamentarians and other effective lobbyists for the Palestinian cause.
The British official, who is the UK's first Jewish ambassador in Tel Aviv, said: "Israel invests a lot of resources in the media to improve its image abroad, but people who are not experts are not stupid. They watch the daily decisions of building new settlements and read stories about what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank."
Israeli embassies and consulates around the world have adopted a PR strategy to improve the image of Israel and its activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. The strategy includes dispatching prominent media figures to give pro-Israel speeches abroad, helping third-world countries and sending humanitarian aid to disaster-hit regions.