Israel has taken a swipe at the EU for linking closer relations with the new Israeli government to commitment to a two-state solution.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Tel Aviv does not tolerate the 27-nation bloc to dictate its policy to Tel Aviv, according to Haaretz.
The hawkish Israeli premier made the remarks after European Union threatened to suspend upgrading relations with Tel Aviv if it refuses to restart peace talks with the Palestinians.
It has also called on the Israeli government to stop expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which EU considers as the main obstacle to the creation of a Palestinian state — proposed by the Middle East Quartet to end the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Peace is in Israel’s interest no less than it is in Europe’s interest, and there’s no need to make the upgrade in relations with Israel conditional on progress on the peace process. We are in the process of reviewing our policy; don’t rush us", Netanyahu told visiting Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.
Netanyahu – who refuses to accept international community’s call for creating a Palestinian state — has repeatedly vowed to expand illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied territory.
"If Israelis can’t build homes in the West Bank then Palestinians shouldn’t be allowed to either," he said.