International Community Responds Scathingly to Israel's New Settlement Plan

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Ben Cohen
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Israel is feeling the heat from the international community after declaring it would build 3000 new settlement homes on Palestinian territory, with the UN going as far as calling the move as 'an almost fatal blow' to to the peace process. From the  BBC:

Britain and France have both summoned Israeli ambassadors in protest at Israel's decision to approve the construction of 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The UK said the move would cast doubt on Israel's "stated commitment to achieving peace with the Palestinians".

Israel authorised the 3,000 additional housing units a day after the UN voted to upgrade Palestinian status.

The UN warned the homes would be "an almost fatal blow" to peace hopes.

Sweden also summoned the Israeli ambassador, while Russia and Germany expressed their opposition to the settlement plans.

Israel also announced that it would withhold more than $100 million in taxes and customs duties that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians each month, saying it would use the money to pay off Palestinian debts to Israeli companies. Withholding the funds endangers the sustainability of the government in the West Bank as the money is vital in keeping it afloat.

In typical fashion, Netanyahu has pledged to ignore the international community and go ahead with the punitive measures designed to inflict maximum damage to the Palestinians for declaring statehood. Netanyahu told his cabinet:

"Accordingly, the government of Israel rejects the U.N General Assembly decision....Today we are building, and we will continue to build in Jerusalem and in all areas that appear on Israel's map of strategic interests."

Even the US has condemned the latest actions of the Israeli government with Hillary Clinton telling an audience at the Saban Center think tank in Washington:

"Let me reiterate that this administration, like previous administrations, has been very clear with Israel that these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace."

The petty and incredibly damaging measures taken by Israel are again, completely self defeating. As public opinion around the world turns against them, they isolate themselves further and endanger their own survival in a region that is inherently unstable and increasingly hostile. New Arab governments won't placate Israel as they did before the Arab Spring, and European countries will be less willing to provide political support as their populations demand action in opposing Israeli aggression. It is only a matter of time until the US has to publicly distance itself from Israel given the implications its behavior has in the region - and then Israel really will be by itself.

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