France and Britain Reportedly Considering Pulling Ambassadors from Israel

Monday, December 3, 2012
By Paul Martin

DEC 2, 2012

Everybody knew that Israel’s move to build new settlements in the previously off-limits area outside Jerusalem known as E1 would anger friends and enemies alike. But few probably guessed that it would send European ambassadors fleeing the country. According to a new report from Haaretz, that’s exactly what the diplomats from France and Britain are thinking. More specifically, the Haaretz report cites senior European diplomats who say that the two countries are considering “the unprecedented step of recalling their ambassadors.” One told the paper, “This time it won’t just be a condemnation, there will be real action taken against Israel.”

The sobering news comes just three days after Benjamin Netanyahu’s widely publicized and controversial decision to start construction in the 4.6-square-mile E1 zone, a move that many believe will ruin the chances of a two-state solution to the region’s conflict. Captured by Israel in the 1967 war, the strip of land connects the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem. However, the proposed 3,000 homes built on that land would also cut off Ramallah and Bethlehem from Jerusalem, “making the contiguous Palestinian state endorsed by the United Nations last week virtually impossible,” according to The New York Times. It also makes a single contiguous Palestinian state impossible. Along with another recently announced settlements to be built in Ramot and Pisgat Zeev and a stretch of land known as Givat Hamatos — 3,810 units total — Israel is embarking on the biggest settlement construction spree since the 1970s.

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