Canada recently shuttered the embassy of Iran, sending all its diplomats packing and severing ties, and currently is reviewing the full range of its bilateral relationship with the Palestinian Authority, following its push for upgraded UN status.
Egypt Independent The British issued a statement saying they had made clear they would not support strong Israeli retaliation to a UN vote last week that gave the Palestinians de facto recognition of statehood. “The recent Israeli government decision to build 3,000 new housing units threatens the two-state solution and makes progress through negotiations harder to achieve,” the British embassy in Tel Aviv said.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that France was also considering withdrawing its envoy. Such a move by both London and Paris would represent a severe diplomatic reproach to Netanyahu. Netanyahu has brushed off world condemnation of his latest settlement housing plans, which were announced on Friday just hours after the United Nations voted overwhelming to upgrade the Palestinians’ diplomatic status.
“We will carry on building in Jerusalem and in all the places that are on the map of Israel’s strategic interests,” Netanyahu said on Sunday at a weekly cabinet meeting. Besides authorizing 3,000 new homes in and around Jerusalem, the Israeli government also agreed to expedite planning work for thousands more homes on barren land near Jerusalem that critics say would kill off Palestinian hopes of creating a viable state.
In another blow to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Israel announced on Sunday it was withholding Palestinian tax revenues this month worth about US$100 million. Israel said it was taking the money to help cover a Palestinian debt of $200 million with the Israeli Electric Corporation.