Israel is facing mounting criticism over its continued settlement expansion as Tel Aviv allies see the prospects of peace through a two-state solution vanish into thin air.
In a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah in London, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday expressed concerns over the lack of progress in the Middle East peace process.
Abdullah and Brown pledged ‘to increase their efforts in support of a just and viable two-state solution’, and to encourage world leaders to actively engage in supporting the resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
On Tuesday, the French foreign minister reiterated his country’s opposition to the Israeli settlements, criticizing Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s hawkish administration for killing a leftist desire for peace born during the former Israeli government.
"We think that a freeze on settlements, that’s to say no more colonization while talks are ongoing, would be absolutely indispensable," Bernard Kouchner told France Inter radio.
He also said that Netanyahu would hear from French President Nicolas Sarkozy about the need to freeze the settlements in their planned meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Wednesday.
Denmark also joined his EU partners in criticizing Israel for the expansion of its illegal settlements, the destruction of Palestinian homes and restrictions on their movement.
Tel Aviv has so far refused to heed the international community’s call for a freeze on its settlement activity, which the Palestinians maintain as a precondition for any peace talks with the Israeli side.
Last week, acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas expressed deep disappointment with US President Barack Obama’s failure to keep his promise to Palestinians of holding Israel accountable and compromising on the Arab nation’s rights in favor of Israel and its illegal settlements.
Under the US pressure, Abbas stopped short of announcing the death of a two-state solution. However, his chief negotiator Saeb Erekat had earlier warned that the continued expansion of Israeli settlements could force the Palestinian side to abandon the two-state solution.