UK & World News

  • 2 February 2014, 20:53

Israel Boycott Warning Dismissed By Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted efforts to boycott the country will not achieve their goal.

US Secretary of State John Kerry had suggested that a failure of peace talks with the Palestinians would accelerate calls for a "de-legitimisation campaign" against the Jewish state.

A small but growing number of European businesses and pension funds have begun to drop investments or limit trade with Israeli firms involved in settlements of the West Bank it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

And at a security conference in Germany, Mr Kerry warned a breakdown in Israeli-Palestinian discussions could threaten Israel's economic prosperity and its safety.

"You see for Israel there's an increasing de-legitimisation campaign that has been building up," he said.

"People are very sensitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things.

"Today's status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100%, cannot be maintained. It's not sustainable. It's illusionary. There's a momentary prosperity, there's a momentary peace."

But at the opening of his weekly Cabinet meeting, Mr Netanyahu said international pressure on Israel would backfire and only cause the Palestinians to harden their positions.

"Attempts to impose a boycott on the State of Israel are immoral and unjust," he said.

"Moreover, they will not achieve their goal."

Israel's intelligence minister, Yuval Steinitz, of Mr Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, called Mr Kerry's comments "offensive, unfair and insufferable."

"You can't expect the state of Israel to conduct negotiations with a gun pointed to its head," he said.

Economics minister Naftali Bennett, from the religious, pro-settler Jewish Home party, said all "the advice givers" should know Israel will not abandon its land because of economic threats.

"We expect our friends around the world to stand beside us, against anti-Semitic boycott efforts targeting Israel, and not for them to be their amplifier," he said.

"Only security will bring economic stability."

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