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Pressure Mounts on U.K. Not to Rent from Settlement Czar Leviev

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Lev Leviev, the settlements and diamond czar, is back in the crosshairs. Pressure is mounting on the British government to cancel plans it has made to rent space for its embassy in Tel Aviv from a company owned by Leviev. Abe Hayeem, an Arab-Jewish architect and peace activist has penned a piece in the Guardian saying that Britain is undercutting its policy re the settlements.

When Britain's prime minister, Gordon Brown, visited Ramallah in mid-July, he told
the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas: "We want to see a freeze on
settlements. Settlement expansion has made peace harder to achieve. It
erodes trust, it heightens Palestinian suffering, it makes the
compromises Israel needs to make for peace more difficult."

In that case, the decision by the British government to rent space for our new embassy in Tel Aviv from the Africa-Israel Investments company chaired by businessman Lev Leviev sends precisely the wrong message

Note that the Guardian piece has 196 comments, most of them blasting UK complicity in the settlements policy, including this:

"Israel has been illegally occupying territory, against UN Mandates, since the sixties. They agreed to demolish some settlements and stop further expansion. They lied. Only the US can put pressure on Israel. They don't give a toot about world opinion."

I don't know. Globes, an Israeli business newspaper, has picked up the Guardian editorial. And here a group of Palestinian, U.S. and English NGO's have called on the Brits to cancel the deal. Ian Lustick says that Israel's attitude is making it a pariah state like South Africa. That's no fun. Roll over, Jabotinsky and tell Ben Gurion the news!

Thanks to David Bloom.

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