Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a warning on Wednesday from the foreign head of state who is considered to be one of the friendliest to Israel. His Canadian counterpart, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, called him on Wednesday and clarified that Canada could not support Israel in its decision to advance settlement construction plans in the E-1 corridor, connecting Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim.
Over the weekend, after Canada was one of the few states who stood by Israel at the UN General Assembly vote, Netanyahu called Harper to thank him for his support. But a few days later, Harper was forced to phone Netanyahu back - this time to reproach him. The fact Harper chose to leak the content of the conversation indicates how strongly Canada opposes Netanyahu's decision concerning E-1 construction.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird revealed details of the talk to the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. Baird said that Harper made it clear to Netanyahu that a wave of construction in the settlements will put a hamper on efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
"The Palestinians’ actions last week were very unhelpful to the cause of peace, and the Israeli response of settlement expansion is very unhelpful to the cause of peace,” Mr. Baird said.
Harper, who heads Canada's Conservative Party, is considered to be Netanyahu's closest ally. Despite their close relationship, according to the report in The Globe and Mail, Israel's decision to advance construction plans in the E-1 area was one step too many for Harper, and he wanted to make his reservations on the matter clear to Netanyahu.
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South Africa, Greece rebuke ambassadors
Meanwhile, Israel's Ambassadors in South Africa and Greece, Dov Segev-Steinberg and Arye Mekel, were summoned to the Foreign Ministries of those countries for talks on the Netanyahu government's new settlement plans and the decision to withhold tax revenues from the Palestinians. Foreign Ministry officials in South Africa told the Israeli ambassador that they are strongly opposed to Israel's actions, saying that there is no excuse for the non-transfer of Palestinian money and that this could have serious consequences for the Palestinian population.