UK, France might recall ambassadors over new Jewish housing

Monday, December 03, 2012 |  Israel Today Staff

The international community was in an uproar on Sunday after Israel responded to the Palestinian Authority's unilateral quest to obtain recognition at the UN by approving the construction of more Jewish housing in Judea and Samaria.

Britain and France were reportedly leading the charge against Israel by considering a recall of their respective ambassadors.

In the US, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the Israeli reaction, though Washington had also fought hard to dissuade the Palestinians from their unhelpful stunt in the UN General Assembly.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a dual US-Israeli citizen who previously served as President Barak Obama's chief of staff, slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his "unfathomable behavior."

UN chief Ban Ki-moon was equally dramatic, calling the 3,000 planned Jewish apartments a "near fatal blow" to any prospects for peace in the region.

The 3,000 new apartments are to be built within the boundaries of long-established Jewish communities, and therefore do not represent a violation of any signed agreements with the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority's motion at the UN last week, by contrast, was a violation of the most core component of those same agreements - that the conclusion of the conflict via the creation of a Palestinian Arab state must only come about through bilateral negotiations.

Israel did find a few sympathetic voices, such as US Senator John McCain, who told Israel's Channel 10 News that the UN's recognition of Palestine "cannot...go unresponded to."

McCain suggested that the US should also take punitive action by withholding financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.

It is important to remember that the building of Jewish homes in established settlements has been going on for decades, and is permitted under the terms of the current agreements. The Palestinian move at the UN, however, is a complete break from bilateral negotiations and significantly complicates efforts to achieve a genuine and lasting peace.

And yet, it is Israel that the international community is singling out as dealing an "unfathomable" "death blow" to the peace process.

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