Israel's foreign minister publicly rebukes EU foreign policy chief
Israel is being increasingly pressured by the international community as peace talks with the Palestinians falter. (AFP/File)
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Foreign Minister Avigodor Liberman chided EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Friday for finding the "real dangers to world peace" after she issued a statement calling on Israel to backtrack on measures taken against the Palestinians.
Liberman criticized the top EU diplomat for calling on Israel to reverse recent decisions made in regard to the West Bank and east Jerusalem, insinuating that she should concentrate on what he indicated were a multitude of more pressing issues.
Liberman on Facebook sarcastically charged that "it was lucky that the European Union knows how to diagnose critical problems in the world and take care of them quickly and decisively."
Earlier Friday, Ashton said she had "followed with concern "developments in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, including the Defense Ministry's authorization to expand Jewish property holdings in Hebron, the IDF's claim as state land of 100 hectares in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank, and reported Israeli demolitions of Palestinian property in Area C and east Jerusalem.
She also condemned Israel's alleged demolition of EU-funded housing structures outside of Ma'aleh Adumim in the E1 area, a highly contentious area in the West Bank east of Jerusalem.
In her statement, Ashton blasted Israel for the steps she stated were "not conducive to the climate of trust and cooperation needed for the current peace negotiations to succeed."
The top EU diplomat also denounced the killing of Israeli police officer Ch.-Supt. Baruch Mizrachi in a shooting attack on his civilian car in the West Bank on Monday.
As negotiators continue attempts to break the currently deadlocked talks, Ashton called on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides to exert restraint to refrain from violence and moves that could undermine the diplomatic process.
She also expressed her support for US efforts to mediate the negotiating process and said she "trusts that both Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu and [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas are committed to finding ways to continue negotiations."