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Europe's big powers unify to push against Israel settlement plans (+video)

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But while Britain is ultimately not expected to take the diplomatically nuclear step of withdrawing its ambassador, observers were struck by the degree to which the UK and other European states acted together. France also rebuked the Israeli ambassador in Paris, and even Germany, normally reluctant to criticize Israel, expressing its “deep concern.”

“I think there is as much of an effort as possible, in general, to get an 'E3' consensus especially,” says Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator currently working as the director of the Middle East and North Africa program at the London-based European Council on Foreign Relations, a pan-European think tank.

Mr. Levy points to increasing cooperation between the so-called E3 – comprising the UK, France, and Germany – most notably last year during a UN Security Council vote over a settlements resolution, which was vetoed by the US.

“I think in general there is an attempt to come together, especially around something like this, where they are saying: 'How do convince Israel to reverse this?' or over [Israeli's] withholding of Palestinian tax revenue.”

Tentative steps by the EU's three largest states to pursue a united diplomatic front would continue, he suggests, particularly if the US “continues to be paralyzed by its own domestic politics on this issue.”

Denmark, Sweden, Spain too

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