The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for asking EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton not to issue a statement which is critical of settlements. Such an intervention by Netanyahu, a ministry spokesman said, "Is an attempt to legalise settlements built on occupied Palestinian territory," which undermines the efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry to revive the peace process.
The ministry statement stressed the importance of commenting on Netanyahu's move ahead of Kerry's next visit to the region later this week. Ashton has been urged to go ahead and issue the EU's condemnation of Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land because it is in keeping with Europe's stated foreign policy on the issue. The EU regards Israeli statements, which are all illegal in international law, as an obstacle to peace.