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Diplomats report increasing criticism of Israel

February 17, 2014 at 1:49 am

Several Israeli diplomats have expressed their concerns about the increasing worldwide criticism of Israel, a local radio station claimed on Wednesday. The report attributed the rising tide of comments against Israel to the government’s proposed settlement expansion programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.

Israel’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, Yakov Levi, sent a report to his Foreign Ministry saying, “It is the first time in four years that I have been asked critically about the issue of building settlements.” However, he pointed out that the Czechs are still “very close friends” to Israel.

The embassy in Paris has referred to “the negative rift” in the popular dialogue about Israel, even among its supporters. The radio station mentioned similar reports from Israeli diplomats in the USA.

Israeli journalists described US criticism of the plans to build another 1,500 units in Ramat Shlomo settlement as “strange”, betraying the fact that they are so used to the US being either silent or supportive of Israeli government policies, even when they breach international laws and conventions as settlements do.

“We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action,” a State Department spokesperson said in reference to the plans for additional settlement units. “These repeated announcements and plans of new construction run counter to the cause of peace,” insisted Victoria Noland. “Israel’s leaders continually say that they support a path towards a two-state solution,” she added, “yet these actions only put that goal further at risk. So we again call on Israel and the Palestinians to cease any kinds of counterproductive unilateral actions and take concrete steps to return to direct negotiations.”

Reports from Europe say that France and Germany are two of several EU countries planning to condemn Israeli settlements in the UN Security Council.

Stubbornly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that Israeli is going to continue construction projects in Jerusalem. He described the city as “the eternal undivided capital of Israel”, even though his country is the only country in the world which recognises its annexation of occupied East Jerusalem in 1967.