In another response to a strong European condemnation of Israel’s construction in the West Bank and attacks by settlers on Palestinians, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday “if instead of contributing to stability in the Middle East (European Union members of the UN Security Council) are investing their efforts in inappropriate bickering with with the one country in which the independent law justice system knows how to deal with lawbreakers, then they are losing their credibility and making themselves irrelevant.”
On Tuesday European Union members of the 15-nation body demanded strong action by the Israeli government to halt the attacks and said the settlements “send a devastating message” about Israel’s intentions.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry urged the EU members of the UNSC to concentrate on “peacemaking in bloodshed hotspots such as Syria, on instilling democracy and moderation in Arab countries aspiring to freedom, and on defusing the global danger embodied in the Iranian nuclear race.
“The European UNSC members have chosen to do what is easy and unnecessary, rather than muster their courage and do that which is difficult and necessary,” the ministry said.
The Foreign Ministry also called on the EU members to support the “resumption of the direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians according to the Quartet’s outline, which Israel had adopted despite the Palestinians’ objection.”
Israel further urged the European states to “adhere to the wording of the Quartet plan and refrain from giving it interpretations that contradict both the letter and the spirit of the original text.
“This misreading only adds obstacles on the path towards resuming peace talks. Interfering with Israel’s domestic affairs, including on issues which are to be solved within the framework of direct negotiations, does not enhance the status they wish to be granted,” the Foreign Ministry’s statement added.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni blasted the Foreign Ministry statement, saying “Israel is waging war against its biggest allies in Europe.”
Livni claimed that the government’s policies can be viewed as compromising to the state’s security. “Without legitimacy in the world we could never act against terror, as we did in the past,” she said.
“Currently there is no confidence in the prime minister, and the situation could compromise the way our allies view Israel.”
In response to the Foreign Ministry’s statement, European Union diplomats told Ynet that the condemnation was directly mainly at Israel’s settlement construction policy.
“There is concern and a lot of frustration surrounding the Israeli government’s policy on this issue,” one diplomat said. “We are very worried about the amount of construction permits (in the West Bank)
The diplomat said similar condemnations have been issued in the past. “We recognize Israel’s efforts to stop the ‘price tag’ assailants. The main issue that concerns us is settlement construction,” the diplomat added.
Over the past few weeks European officials have expressed their concern over the future of Israel and the peace process. “We don’t know what Israel wants anymore or how it’s future will look,” a senior official said. “The continuation of settlement construction will lead to one state for two peoples. We don’t know where this government is leading (Israel) to or what its position is regarding the peace process.”
India, Brazil and South Africa launched their own condemnation after a Security Council meeting on Israeli-Palestinian developments. Russia’s UN envoy questioned Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict.
Britain, France, Germany and Portugal – EU representatives on the council – said in a statement that they were “dismayed by these wholly negative developments.”
Following the condemnation, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor published a statement in which he slammed the Security Council. He said that while innocent people are being slathered in Syria, terrorists roam freely in Gaza, UN personnel are attacked in Lebanon and Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, the Security Council keeps silent.
The White House stressed that it hasn’t joined a UN Security Council condemnation of Israeli settlement construction because it does not believe that Security Council declarations are the way to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that Israel knows Washington’s position on the issue, and the best way to deal with the conflict is for the two sides to resume direct negotiations.