William Hague calls Israeli settlement in Palestinian territory ‘illegal’
It is only weeks after David Cameron caused an Israeli flare-up by calling Gaza a “prison camp”.
Now foreign secretary William Hague is stirring up the embers by saying that “all settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory is illegal and is an obstacle to peace”.
He has called on the Israeli government to “freeze all settlement construction, including the natural growth of existing settlements, and dismantle all outposts built since 2001”, as well as extend the freeze to East Jerusalem.
Hague adds that he thinks a greater flow of goods should be allowed into Gaza, and that it is in Israel’s long-term interests to gain agreement on a two-state solution.
Israel’s defiance would only endanger the talks, he says.
The settlement freeze has certainly posed an obstacle in the peace talks. Even US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has come out suggesting that Israel prolong the freeze by three months to give itself and Palestine time to form an agreement on the border issues.
It is expected that once new borders are set, the Israeli settlement will resume, but limited to the areas that end up remaining in its control.
“We therefore look to the Government of Israel to take all the steps necessary to renew the settlement moratorium. We have made that quite clear to them,” Hague says.
And regarding Cameron’s “prison camp” comment, he stands by the PM, saying, “Wherever the Prime Minister goes, he forges very strong relationships with the countries that he and I visit.
“They often find his diplomatic good sense, his openness and his ability to talk to people a very refreshing change from his predecessor.”