Take care of Syria first, Israel tells UN
JERUSALEM / WASHINGTON
A Palestinian flag attached to a fence is seen in this photo. Israel slams European members of the UN Security Council over their settlement condemnation. AFP photoIsrael lashed out at European members of the U.N. Security Council Dec. 21, saying that rather than condemn Israeli settlements they should be acting to stop the killing of civilians in Syria.
“They should have concentrated on peacemaking in centers of bloodshed such as Syria, on helping democracy and moderation take root in Arab countries aspiring to freedom, and on defusing the global danger embodied in the Iranian nuclear race,” a foreign ministry statement said.
“If, instead... they invest their efforts in inappropriate bickering with the one country where the independent law and justice system can handle lawbreakers of all kinds, they are bound to lose their credibility and make themselves irrelevant,” it added.
Britain, France, Germany and Portugal led condemnation by Security Council members on Dec. 20 of Israel’s increased settlements in the occupied territories and growing attacks by extremist settlers on Palestinians. The four European countries said Israel’s announcements of accelerated settlement building send a “devastating” message, and urged Israel to reverse the plans.
In response to condemnation, the United States said Dec. 21 that European powers would gain nothing by condemning settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. “Shouting from the rooftops at the Security Council is not going to change the situation on the ground,” Agence France-Presse quoted State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland as saying, who said a return to negotiations was “the way we’re going to have a lasting, stable peace.” Nuland reaffirmed the U.S. position that it does not “recognize the legitimacy of the continued Israeli settlements.”