Turkish President Abdullah Gul criticized Israel's plans for settlement construction in the contested E1 area in the West Bank, warning that "Israel is playing with fire."
Gul spoke Tuesday at a press conference in Ankara after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Turkish news agency Today Zaman reported.
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Gul strongly condemned the plan, saying that "Israel has become a burden to its allies."
Israel's plans to build 3,000 housing units in the area have been internationally censured: The United States said it was "shocked" by the plan and the European Union issued a formal censure, saying it was "deeply dismayed" and warning Jerusalem of unspecified consequences.
The UN warned the plan will cripple the already-deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and the PA denounced it as a "war crime" and threatened to seek ICC action.
Gul and Abbas (Photo: AFP)
Abbas also appealed to the UN Security Council, asking it to force Israel to suspend the construction plans.
Speaking of the UN General Assembly vote, which granted the Palestinian Authority a nonmember state status despite the objection of the US and Israel, the Turkish president said that Israel "Should have sat down at the negotiation table in a peaceful manner" instead of opting for the "aggressive" announcement of its new plans.
“It is obvious that all of Israel's efforts will turn against it in the long run… Israel's settlement policies are like playing with fire."
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