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Settlements costing Israel support, British foreign secretary says

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(JTA) — British Foreign Secretary William Hague, in a visit to Israel, said settlements have cost the country support in Britain and Europe.

Hague, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, made the comments in an interview Friday with Sky News.

“Israel has lost some of its support in Britain and in other European countries over time — this is something I’ve often pointed out to Israeli leaders — because of settlement activity, which we condemn,” Hague said.

Earlier this week, Israel’s strategic affairs minister, Yuval Steinitz, questioned Britain’s friendship with Israel and said anti-Israel activity in Britain may be connected to anti-Semitism.

Steinitz told The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday that Israel’s relations with other Anglo nations were better than with Britain, where “some Israelis feel that there is some kind of double standard.”

Boycotts against Israel and other anti-Israel activities in Britain contain “some kind of disguised anti-Semitism,” Steinitz told the Telegraph.

On Friday, Hague said that efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to jumpstart talks between Israel and the Palestinians may succeed.

“In spite of the difficulties, the time is right for peace and Secretary Kerry’s initiative can lead to a breakthrough,” Hague said after his meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

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