South Africa Summons Israeli Ambassador


South Africa's foreign ministry has summoned Israel's ambassador in protest against his government's decision to build 3,000 new settlement homes on the West Bank, a senior diplomat said Thursday.

"We felt we had to do this to show how concerned we are about this," said deputy minister of international relations Ebrahim Ebrahim.

"It is in line with similar action taken in Britain, France and Germany. Our ambassador in Israel will convey the same message to the government there."

Israel has faced a storm of criticism over the plans, which critics say will isolate East Jerusalem and threaten the territorial contiguity of a future Palestine state.

The South African government has warned further settlement building in the West Bank will "seriously undermine the two-state solution."

The South African government also expressed its concern about Israel's plan to "withhold $100-million of Palestinian tax revenue."

"These punitive measures will have severe consequences for the Palestinian population as a whole."

Pretoria also expressed growing frustration about the moribund status of the Middle East peace process.

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