Britain slams Israel, praises PA

(JTA) — Britain condemned Israel’s planned construction in eastern Jerusalem and its accreditation of Ariel University Center and praised the Palestinian “measured response.” 

The Israeli government’s decision this week to build 1,200 homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo “is damaging Israel’s international reputation,” British Foreign Minister Alistair Burt said in a statement released on Dec. 27.

He added that in a conversation with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last week, he had commended the Palestinian Authority’s "measured response" to such recent settlement decisions.

Burt also condemned Israel’s decision to accredit Ariel University Center of Samaria as a full university. "Ariel is beyond the Green Line in a settlement that is illegal according to international law," Burt said, adding that "this decision will deepen the presence of the settlements in the Palestinian territories and will create another obstacle to peace."

Israel’s attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, ruled earlier this week that there was no reason to prevent Ariel from being accredited, making it the first Israeli institution of higher learning in the West Bank to receive university status.

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