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UK foreign secretary downplays possibility of European sanctions against Israel

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has downplayed the possibility of European economic sanctions against Israel for its latest settlement-building plans, saying there is "no enthusiasm around the European Union" for such measures.

Asked in Parliament about whether Britain would put some economic muscle behind its condemnations of Israel, Hague said that imposing sanctions is not the U.K.'s approach. He added he does not believe "there would be anywhere near a consensus" on the issue in Europe.

Hague said Tuesday that Britain will continue to try to bring both sides back into peace talks, and consider what further diplomatic steps European countries can take if Israeli settlement building continues.

Israel on Monday rejected American and European condemnations over its plans to build thousands of new homes in West Bank settlements.