US, Israel: Condemning Israel Won't Help Talks

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Both the U.S. and Israel blasted European states on the United Nations Security Council, saying that condemning Israel for building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) would not help re-start the peace process.

Europe's four members on the Security Council -- Britain, France, Germany and Portugal -- issued a statement on Tuesday saying that "all settlement activity, including in east Jerusalem, must cease immediately."

The statement follows Israel's recent announcements of new building projects in Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem. The statement said these announcements "send a devastating message."

The European statement also blasted what it called "the disturbing escalation of violence by settlers" but welcomed Israel's condemnations of stepped up attacks by Jewish extremists against mosques and Palestinians, as well as an Israeli army base, in what have become known as "price tag" attacks. Israel has been quick to condemn them and to seek for the perpetrators.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that although the U.S. does not believe Israeli settlements are legitimate, statements at the Security Council won't get Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

"Shouting from the rooftops of the Security Council is not going to change the situation on the ground, which is that these parties have to get back to the table and settle these issues together, and that's the way we're going to have a lasting, stable peace," said Nuland.

Israel's Foreign Ministry issued an uncharacteristic statement on Wednesday calling on the European members of the Security Council "to support the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians under the Quartet plan."

According to The Jerusalem Post, what upset Israel the most was that European UNSC members adopted "the Palestinian interpretation of the Quartet's September 23 statement, which set out a framework for re-starting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations."

Furthermore, Israel suggest that European UNSC member focus on what it called "the international agenda" saying they should concentrate on "peacemaking in blood shedding hotspots such as Syria, on enrooting democracy and moderation in Arab countries aspiring to freedom, and on defusing the global danger embodied in the Iranian nuclear race."

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 lost their credibility and make themselves irrelevant," Israel said.

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The Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz contributed to this report.

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