Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Friday summoned ambassadors to Israel from Britain, France, Italy and Spain to the Foreign Ministry office in Jerusalem for censure. The move was in response to the reprimanding of Israeli ambassadors in four key European states on Thursday over the recent announcement of new construction tenders in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
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Lieberman instructed officials to clarify to the four European ambassadors that the one-sided position they consistently assume against Israel, and with the Palestinians is unacceptable and gives the impression that they are searching for things to blame Israel for, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.
The foreign minister also instructed to tell the ambassadors that Israel is making great efforts to facilitate continued dialogue with the Palestinians, and that the position espoused by these countries – which are biased, unbalanced, and disregard the reality on the ground – severely damages the chances of the two sides reaching an agreement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the European move Thursday by telling the foreign press corps that "the EU should end its hypocrisy over condemning Israeli settlements. When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors to complain about incitement that calls for Israel's destruction?"
At Thursday’s meetings, European officials also reiterated the EU offer of an unprecedented incentive package if Israel signs a peace agreement with the Palestinians, the diplomat said. The package, which includes upgrading Israel’s status with the European Union to that of a “privileged partnership,” was unveiled a month ago, but Israel has yet to offer an official response to either the EU or any of its member states.