Hague to Israel 'no time for belligerence'

By Jennifer Lipman, February 9, 2011

William Hague has warned Israel that for the sake of the Middle East peace process “this should not be a time for belligerent language.”

The Foreign Secretary, currently on a three day tour of North Africa and the Middle East, called instead for “bold leadership” from the United States and “equally bold steps by Israelis and Palestinians”.

He made the remarks in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments about being willing to "reinforce the might of the state of Israel" should it prove necessary.

Mr Hague said that the volatility of the region, including the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and the resurgence of Hizbollah in Lebanon, meant there was “a real urgency for the Israelis and the US” to progress with peace negotiations.

He said: “Amidst the opportunity for countries like Tunisia, there is a legitimate fear that the Middle East peace process will lose further momentum and be put to one side, and will be a casualty of uncertainty in the region.”

Last updated: 11:00am, February 9 2011