Inicio NOTICIAS PM pushes back against pressure to rescind settlement plans

PM pushes back against pressure to rescind settlement plans

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pushed back Monday against intense international pressure to reconsider plans to build 3,000 housing units and go ahead with planning the controversial E1 site, with sources in his office saying no one should expect Israel to sit on its hands in light of Palestinian unilateral steps at the UN.
As one European country after the next called in Israel\’s ambassador to protest the settlement plans, a source in the PMO issued a statement saying that Israel would "continue to stand up for its vital interests even in the face of international pressure."
The official said there will be no change in the decision made Friday to build 3,000 housing units in the large settlement blocks, and to go ahead with planning and zoning work for the E1 neighborhood linking Jerusalem to Ma\’ale Adumim northeast of the capital.
"The Palestinian unilateral moves at the UN is a blatant and fundamental violation of agreements to which the international community was a guarantor," the official said. "No one should be surprised that Israel is not sitting with its arms folded in response to the unilateral Palestinian steps."
The source added that Israel would take further steps if the Palestinians went ahead with further unilateral moves of its own.
Both France and Britain summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their countries on Monday to express disapproval over plans to expand West Bank settlements, as reports swirled that the two European countries were considering the harsher move of recalling their own ambassadors.
Britain\’s Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt summoned Daniel Taub, Israel\’s ambassador in London, for talks on the issue. "The Minister set out the depth of the UK\’s concerns," a British Foreign Office spokesman said. A diplomatic source, who declined to be named, said London would decide whether to recall its ambassador later in the day.
France called Ambassador Yossi Gal to a meeting, but played down reports it could recall its ambassador. "There are other ways in which we can express our disapproval," an official told Reuters. "The ambassador has been summoned in order to express our disapproval," foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said.
French President Francois Hollande said on Monday he did not want to start imposing sanctions on Israel after it announced plans to expand settlement building in occupied territories.
"We don\’t want to shift into sanctions mode," Hollande said at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. "We are more focused on convincing."
Sweden has also summoned the Israeli ambassador in Stockholm to a meeting, the foreign ministry said on Monday.
Vice Premier Moshe Ya\’alon told Army Radio he was not aware of any recall. "I did not hear of this, either via the foreign ministry or the prime minister\’s office. Therefore I have a hard time believing it is true," he said.
France and Britain have both condemned Israel\’s plans to build more settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, saying international confidence in Israel\’s desire to make peace with the Palestinians was at risk.
Germany urged Israel to refrain from expanding settlements but said a visit by Netanyahu to Berlin this week would go ahead as planned.
"We appeal to the Israeli government to desist from this procedure (for building more settlements)," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference, adding that the plans undermined efforts to revive peace talks by reducing the land available for a future Palestinian state.
Asked whether the issue might jeopardize Netanyahu\’s visit to Germany, Seibert said there was no change in the schedule: "The chancellor (Angela Merkel) expects Mr Netanyahu for dinner and talks on Wednesday evening… We expect an open discussion between friends."
Russia also urged Israel to reconsider the plans, saying building new homes would undermine any chance for direct peace talks.
Russia "views these Israeli intentions with the most serious concern", the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "Implementation of the announced plans for large-scale settlement activity would have a very negative effect on efforts to resume direct negotiations aimed at a two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," it said.
Spain and Denmark joined the growing list of European countries censuring Israel, as both countries summoned their Israeli ambassadors to express disapproval over the plans.
The construction announcement also drew harsh condemnation from Israel\’s domestic Center-Left bloc, with politicians stating that the move would isolate Israel internationally.

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