UK, France summon Israeli ambassadors

The Israeli envoys were summoned to meetings in London and Paris to discuss concern over Israel's plans to expand Jewish settlements.

LONDON/PARIS — Britain and France Monday summoned the Israeli ambassadors in London and Paris for meetings to express concerns over Israel's plans to expand Jewish settlements after the Palestinians won de facto UN recognition of statehood.

"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," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

"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," he added.

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Meanwhile, France played down reports it could recall its ambassador to Israel in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to expand settlement building in occupied territories.

"The ambassador has been summoned in order to express our disapproval," foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said. The Israeli embassy also confirmed the meeting.

A ministry official brushed off reports that France could recall its own envoy in Jerusalem and said Paris was looking at other ways of putting pressure on Netanyahu.

"There are other ways in which we can express our disapproval," the official told Reuters.

France and Britain have both condemned Israel's plans to build more settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying international confidence in Israel's desire to make peace with the Palestinians was at risk.