Israel berates 'pro-Palestinian EU'

Benjamin Netanyahu: "When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors to complain"

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Israel has summoned the ambassadors of Britain, France, Italy and Spain, accusing their countries of pro-Palestinian bias.

The Foreign Ministry said the envoys would be told that their "perpetual one-sided stance" is unacceptable.

On Thursday, the four EU countries summoned Israeli ambassadors to object to plans to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The EU's Catherine Ashton has labelled the settlements "an obstacle to peace".

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was "time to stop this hypocrisy" and "inject some balance and fairness to this discussion".

"The EU calls our ambassadors in because of the construction of a few houses? When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors about incitement that calls for Israel's destruction?" he said at a meeting of foreign journalists on Thursday.

The Israeli government has accused the Palestinian Authority of taking no action to stop inflammatory language against Israel and Jewish people in its official media.

"This imbalance and this bias against Israel doesn't advance peace," Mr Netanyahu said.

"I think it pushes peace further away because it tells the Palestinians: 'Basically you can do anything you want, say anything you want and you won't be held accountable.'"

Last week Israel announced plans to build 1,400 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Ms Ashton said constituted "an obstacle to peace and threaten[ed] to make the two-state solution impossible".

About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

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