Britain: Israeli Settlements Are ‘Illegal’ & ‘Obstacle’ to Peace


British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Tuesday criticized Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank as “illegal” and said they represented an “obstacle” in the path of peace.

“Settlements are illegal in our view and an obstacle” that impedes efforts which seek to work out a final settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians, Miliband told a press conference at the end of a one-day visit to Jordan and talks with King Abdullah II.

The British Foreign Secretary also conferred in Amman with the U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell to review the outcome of a regional tour Mitchell and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were carrying out to try to spur the stalled peace process.

Miliband supported the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital and expressed concern over Israeli violations in East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War.

“The current situation is obviously particularly tense in respect to Jerusalem. We view events there with considerable concern, along with our EU and international partners,” he said.

Miliband also warned that any alternative to a two-state vision as a solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would be “dark and unwelcome”.

Abdullah II, for his part, urged the international community to pressure Israel to stop its “unilateral actions” in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a royal court statement following their meeting.

“The monarch underlined the importance of the European Union’s role, particularly that of Britain, in efforts aimed at ensuring the setting up of an independent Palestinian state, which is a prerequisite for Middle East peace,” said the statement.

King Abdullah warned against “the dangers inherent in the Israeli unilateral actions, especially the construction of settlements and other measures that threaten the identity of Jerusalem and holy places there, and called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to halt such steps,” added the statement.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry urged the international community to protect occupied Jerusalem from the “racist steps” being taken by Israel to change the demographics of the city.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman appealed to the United Nations Security Council with the complaint that Israel has been trying to change the demographic reality in all Palestinian territory, particularly in occupied Jerusalem.

The Egyptian complaint came just before Clinton arrived in Cairo, culminating days of meetings across North Africa and in the Zionist entity. Clinton was met in Cairo late Tuesday by the U.S. Mideast peace envoy, Mitchell.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit also said on Tuesday that Cairo wants assurances that any Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations would ensure a Palestinian state and not be used to “waste time”.

Clinton, facing Arab accusations that she had been too soft on Israel, later said in Morocco that Israel’s offer to show restraint on settlements fell short of U.S. expectations.

“We want to have guarantees for the Palestinians … that ensure them that these negotiations will not be used to waste time or to accomplish Israeli objectives against them,” Aboul Gheit told a news conference in Cairo.

He said Egypt also wanted “guarantees that give them the right for a Palestinian state”.

Clinton is on a whirlwind trip through the Middle East seeking to garner Arab support for the resumption of stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

She is due to arrive in Cairo later on Tuesday and will meet with Aboul Gheit and Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman before holding talks on Wednesday with President Hosni Mubarak. The talks are likely to focus on the peace process.

Aboul Gheit, asked about Clinton’s stance on resuming talks, said he was hoping for clarification on Washington’s view. “I have to wait and see the reaction of the American Secretary of State as she arrives in Cairo tonight, because she gave certain explanations last night. We have to get them ourselves and then consider the issue,” he said.

While in Morocco, Clinton offered aid to boost ties with the Muslim world and urged Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries to move beyond recrimination in the search for peace.

After a weekend of heated words about the perceived U.S. tilt toward Israel on the issue of settlements in the occupied West Bank, Clinton said it was important for all sides to “be careful about what we say” and avoid angry rhetoric. “We are determined and persistent in the pursuit of that goal,” she said in a speech at a development forum in Morocco attended by Arab ministers.

1.Al Manar,Lebanese News Outlet


One Response to “Britain: Israeli Settlements Are ‘Illegal’ & ‘Obstacle’ to Peace”

  1. 1 EastofSun

    It was Britain who created Israel on Palestine land. Now this millimeter-band opines that the settlement “impede” the efforts which “seek” …blah blah blah.
    Look at his verbal jargon. Isn’t he trying to kiss Zionist ass? That’s what milli-wand gets his paycheck for.
    Britain has her both hands soaked in Palestinian children’s blood from day one of Israel’s existence.
    Those learned Arabs are idiots who think Hillary was ‘too soft on Israel’. Clinton, her President, as also his Chief of Staff Rahm, have been appointed by AIPAC to serve Israel. After all they are goyim.

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