LONDON: ARAB NEWS
Published — Wednesday 23 January 2013
Last update 23 January 2013 1:53 am
Britain said yesterday prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are almost dead because of expanding Jewish settlement in occupied territory, and warned Israel it was losing international support.
Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke as Israelis voted in an election likely to yield a hard-line rightist government keener to thicken settlement on land where Palestinians want to establish statehood than seek peace.
“I hope that whatever Israeli government emerges .... that it will recognize that we are approaching the last chance to bring about such a solution,” Hague told Parliament.
“I condemn recent Israeli decisions to expand settlements. I speak regularly to Israeli leaders stressing our profound concern that Israel’s settlement policy is losing the support of the international community and will make a two-state solution impossible,” he said.
Asked whether the European Union should tie trade with Israel to progress on peace talks, Hague said the bloc still had work to do, in conjunction with the US, to establish “incentives and disincentives” regarding further negotiations.
“There is a clock ticking with potentially disastrous consequences for the peace process,” he added.
Hague said 2013 was a crucial year for the moribund peace process given Israeli elections for a new government and the start of US President Barack Obama’s second term.
“If we do not make progress in the coming year, people will increasingly conclude that a two-state solution has become impossible,” said Hague. Both Israelis and Palestinians should return to talks without preconditions, he said.