Friday, 17 January 2014

Israel calls in European ambassadors over EU settlement protest

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel called in European ambassadors in a tit-for-tat move Friday after four EU states lodged formal protests against the right-wing government's drive to expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the European Union of a "hypocritical" attitude toward the Middle East process, saying it should be more concerned by Palestinian militancy than Israeli housing construction.

The new spat with Europe follows a furious public row with key ally the United States after Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon launched a bitter personal tirade against Secretary of State John Kerry for his "obsession" with brokering a framework peace deal with the Palestinians by April.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who lives in an illegal settlement, ordered the ambassadors of Britain, France, Italy and Spain be called in to "stress to them that their perpetual one-sided stance against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians is unacceptable and creates the impression they are only seeking ways to blame Israel," his spokesman said. more

Weekly report on human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (09-15 January 2014)

Israeli forces have continued to open fire at border areas in the Gaza Strip. A Palestinian civilian was wounded in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces launched 5 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. 2 members of an armed group were wounded. 2 children were wounded by pieces of smashed glass. 2 schools and about 20 houses sustained partial damage.

Israeli forces have continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank. 10 Palestinian civilians, including a child and a woman, and an international activist, were wounded. A protestor was wounded at the northern entrance of Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.

Israeli forces conducted 72 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 3 limited ones in the Gaza Strip. At least 66 Palestinians, including 7 children, were arrested.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the oPt and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. At least 2 Palestinian civilians were arrested at checkpoints in the West Bank.

Israeli navy forces have continued targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea. Israeli naval forces opened fire 6 times at Palestinian fishing boats in the northern Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.

Israeli forces have continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. 20 old olive trees were damaged in Yatta town, south of Hebron. Israeli settlers attempted to set fire to a mosque in Deir Estya village in Salfit. more