UN Security Council members condemned Israel on Tuesday for the planned Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria as well as for ‘price tag’ vandalism.
According to a report by AFP, the condemnation was led by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal. The four said in a joint statement after a council meeting on the Middle East conflict that they were “dismayed by these wholly negative developments” and the threat they pose to the peace process.
The four council members also called for strong measures by the Israeli government “to halt attacks on mosques and Palestinians by extremist settlers.”
According to the report, the four European countries said Israel’s recent announcements of accelerated construction in Judea and Samaria send a “devastating” message, and urged the Jewish state to reverse the plans.
On Sunday, the Housing and Construction Ministry published a series of tenders for construction of 6,000 new homes, 1,000 of which in the vicinity of Jerusalem. The plan is to build 350 units in the hareidi-religious city Beitar Illit, 500 units will be built in Jerusalem’s Har Homa neighborhood and an additional 180 residential units will be built in Givat Zeev.
The PA was quick to condemn the publishing of the tenders and called upon the international community to intervene.
“The viability of the Palestinian state that we want to see and the two-state solution that is essential for Israel’s long-term security are threatened by the systematic and deliberate expansion of settlements,” according to a statement read by Britain’s UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant following Tuesday’s meeting.
The statement adds, “We condemn the disturbing escalation of violence by settlers, including the burning of the Nebi Akasha mosque in west Jerusalem and the Burqa mosque in the West Bank. It is clear that these deliberately provocative attacks on places of worship were designed to aggravate tensions.”
The statement was referring to the latest torching of mosques – one in Jerusalem and one near Shechem.
AFP reported that South Africa, India and Brazil launched their own condemnation at Tuesday’s meeting, while Russia’s UN envoy questioned whether a two-state solution was now possible.
The Europeans welcomed, however, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s vow to clamp down on extremists and called “on the Israeli government to fulfill its commitment to bring the perpetrators to justice and to put an end to impunity.”
Last week, Netanyahu promised his supporters in Likud that "whoever dares raise his hand against soldiers or police will pay a heavy price for it."
Regarding the recent riot in an army base, he said: "We will arrest the rioters, we will distance them and we will try them. There will be no discounts."
In response to the condemnation, Karean Peretz, a spokeswomen for Israel’s UN mission, said the Security Council should pay equal attention to the killing of civilians in Syria, terror attacks against Israelis coming from Gaza and Iran’s nuclear program.
“Instead of focusing on the pressing issues before it, the Security Council chooses to focus on settlements,” Peretz told AFP. “The main obstacle to peace, has been, and remains, the Palestinians’ claim to the so-called right of return and its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”