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Number 10 denies plan to withdraw ambassador

Asked at a regular media briefing in Westminster whether the UK was considering withdrawing its ambassador, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said:

We are not proposing to do that. We are not proposing to do anything further at this stage.

We are continuing to have conversations with the Israeli government and others.

We are consulting with international partners and discussing the situation with the Israeli government. Clearly, we are concerned about the situation.

We think that what is being proposed could have a negative impact on the chances of talks and that is concerning to us, but we are not setting out any further action at this stage.

– Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman.


Foreign Office: Israeli Ambassador summoned

We deplore the recent Israeli government decision to build 3,000 new housing units and unfreeze development in the E1 block.

This threatens the viability of the two state solution.

We have called on the Israeli government to reverse this decision.

The Israeli Ambassador to London, Daniel Taub, has been formally summoned to the Foreign Office this morning by the Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt.

The Minister set out the depth of the UK’s concerns.

– Foreign Office statement

The statement continued: “Any decision about any other measures the UK might take will depend on the outcome of our discussions with the Israeli government and with international partners including the US and European Union.”

Reports: Britain and France consider recall of ambassadors in Israel protest

Britain and France are understood to be considering a recall of ambassadors in protest against Israel's settlement construction, according to nation's oldest newspaper the Haaretz.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to build 3,000 homes in settlement blocks and in East Jerusalem could force the hand of European diplomats, the paper said.The unprecedented step is being mooted because of a decision to build in an area known as E1, between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.


Foreign Secretary 'extremely concerned' by Israeli settlement plans

A statement from the Foreign Office said that the UK approach to the Palestinian resolution at the UN General Assembly was guided by the principal of trying to create the right environment for a swift return to talks.

I am extremely concerned by reports that the Israeli Cabinet plans to approve the building of 3000 new housing units in illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and undermine trust between the parties. If implemented, these plans would alter the situation on the ground on a scale that makes the two state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, increasingly difficult to achieve.

They would undermine Israel’s international reputation and create doubts about its stated commitment to achieving peace with the Palestinians. The UK strongly advises the Israeli Government to reverse this decision. The window for a two-state solution is closing, and we need urgent efforts by the parties and by the international community to achieve a return to negotiations, not actions which will make that harder.

– The Foreign Secretary

Clinton: New Israeli settlement plans 'set back' peace cause

Hillary Clinton argued for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but offered no detailed path forward. Credit: Mary Calvert / Reuters

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned Israel's plans to build 3,000 new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem for setting back the Middle East peace cause.

The White House said the latest expansion plan was "counterproductive" to the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks, a stance that Mrs Clinton expanded on in a later speech in Washington.

"This administration - like previous administrations - has been very clear with Israel that these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace," Secretary of State Clinton said.

"If and when the parties are ready to enter into direct negotiations to solve the conflict, President Obama will be a full partner to them," she added.

Stevie Wonder pulls out of Israel Defense Forces fundraiser

The 62-year-old will donate money to organisations that support disabled Israeli and Palestinian kids after pulling out. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Archive

Stevie Wonder has cancelled a planned performance for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces after several organisations asked him not to perform.

The veteran soul singer, who is also a United Nations Messenger of Peace, was scheduled to sing at a fundraising gala in Los Angeles next Thursday.

But he confirmed he was pulling out in a statement sent by his spokeswoman to Reuters.

"Given the current and very delicate situation in the Middle East, and with a heart that has always cried out for world unity, I will not be performing at the FIDF Gala," Wonder said.

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