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Søvndal censures Israel

The Danish foreign minister has censured Israel for its settlement policy. Ambassador Arthur Avnon called to Foreign Ministry.

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Israel’s decision to expand its settlements in E. Jerusalem and in the West Bank as a reaction to the recent decision by an overwhelming majority in the United Nations to upgrade the Palestinian Authority’s status is illegal under international law, the Danish foreign minister says.

Denmark called Israel's Ambassador Arthur Avnon to the Foreign Ministry Monday to officially hear Denmark's views and pass them on to the Israeli government.

“Israel’s decision to punish President Abbas and his Palestinian Authority with more illegal settlements is a very sad and damaging reaction, which makes it difficult to see the connection between Israel’s declared goal of a two-state solution and a political will to achieve it,” Søvndal said earlier in a statement.

“The EU and Denmark have repeatedly underlined that Israeli settlement activities on Palestinian land are illegal under international law and are a hurdle to the possibilities for a peaceful solution,” he added.

Israel has announced that it plans to build some 3,000 new homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in a move that has prompted Britain and France to summon Israeli ambassadors in their countries for meetings, and to threaten strong reactions if the constructions go ahead.

Germany and Russia have also reacted strongly to the Israeli announcement.

Søvndal repeated his call on both Israel and the Palestinians to get back to the negotiating table and resume talks for a two-state solution.

“And at the same time (I) urge Israel not to carry out the settlement activities it has announced or take other steps that will make a resumption of negotiations more difficult,” Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal concluded.

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