VIDEO: Britain Summons Israeli Ambassador Over New Construction in Occupied Territory
The Israeli prime minister is scheduled to meet Monday with ‘worried’ Germany's Angela Merkel
CNN Wire Staff
December 03, 2012LONDON (CNN) -- Britain summoned Israel's ambassador on Monday over Israel's decision to build thousands of new homes in occupied territory, calling it "deplorable" and saying it threatens a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Foreign Office said.
It is the latest fallout after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized planning to begin for the new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a move widely viewed as retaliatory after the Palestinian Authority won a U.N. bid to be recognized as a "non-member observer state."
Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub has been formally summoned by Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt, who will spell out British concerns, the Foreign Office said in a news release.
"Any decision about any other measures the UK might take will depend on the outcome of our discussions with the Israeli government and with international partners including the U.S. and the European Union," the release said.
The United States and a number of European nations called on Israel to roll back the settlement plan.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the latest to add her voice to the growing chorus, saying her government is "worried" about Israel's settlement plans for the West Bank, the chancellor's spokeswoman said.
The chancellor's comments come ahead of a scheduled meeting Monday between Merkel and Netanyahu in Berlin.
Israeli settlements are widely considered illegal under international law; Israel insists they are not.
Netanyahu has not publicly acknowledged the approval of the new construction. But a senior government official has said the prime minister signed off on building "3,000 housing units" in the East Jerusalem, and has authorized planning and zoning for future construction in the West Bank town of Ma'ale Adumim.
The Obama administration has repeatedly warned Israel against placing settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, particularly the Ma'ale Adumim area, because it would make it nearly impossible to create a contiguous Palestinian state.
The Israeli Cabinet, in a unanimous vote Sunday, rejected the U.N. General Assembly's decision on Palestinian status, saying it changes nothing and will not be a basis for negotiations.
The creation of a Palestinian state will require "arrangements that ensure the security of the citizens of Israel, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and a declaration by Palestinians that the conflict is over," according to the Cabinet statement.
Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, called on the international community to take action against Israel, describing the settlement move as "a flagrant violation of international law" as well as an agreement signed by Israelis and Palestinians regarding peace talks.
CNN's Chelsea J. Carter, Kareem Khadder and Alexander Fenton contributed to this report.
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