Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman responded Friday to EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton’s criticism of Israel’s recent settlement policies, saying sarcastically, “Lucky that the EU knows how to determine what the world’s critical problems are, and deal with them with speed and determination.”
Ashton called on Israel Friday to reverse recent actions, such as announcing new settlements in the West Bank, to bolster faltering peace talks.
“When the entire world is busy trying to solve the Ukraine crisis,” Liberman wrote on his Facebook page, “when innocents are slaughtered every day in Syria, when mass casualty attacks continue in Iraq, and when there are many other points of confrontation and conflict that take human life around the globe, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton found the real threat to world peace, and called for Israel to reverse its policies toward the Palestinians, referring to the announcement that almost 1,000 dunams near Gush Etzion would be state land and that the Peace House in Hebron would be populated.”
Ashton said she viewed with “great concern” the Israeli decision to declare an area near the Gush Etzion bloc south of Bethlehem as state land and approval of a new Jewish settlement in the southern city of Hebron, a statement from her office said.
The continued demolition of Palestinian property and the confiscation of EU humanitarian aid were also worrying, Ashton added.
Earlier this month, an EU official said Israel had demolished several EU-funded humanitarian housing shelters in a highly sensitive strip of West Bank land near Jerusalem.
“The EU calls on the Israeli authorities to reverse these decisions,” Ashton said.
Such events are “not conducive to the climate of trust and cooperation needed for the current peace negotiations to succeed,” she added.