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European nations urge Israel to halt settlement expansion

October 28, 2021

A total of 12 countries, including Germany, have expressed their opposition to the construction of 3,000 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.

Construction work in the Jewish settlement of Givat Zeev
Israel is planning thousands of new homes in the West BankImage: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP

Germany and 11 other European nations urged Israel on Thursday to shelve plans to build 3,000 settlement units in the West Bank.

The foreign ministries of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden, issued a joint statement opposing the building work across the occupied Palestinian Territories.

'Violates international law'

"We urge the government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance plans for the construction of around 3,000 settlement units in the West Bank," the statement read. "We reiterate our strong opposition to its policy of settlement expansion across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which violates international law and undermines efforts for the two-state solution."

"We call on both parties to build on steps taken in recent months to improve cooperation and reduce tensions. We reiterate our call to implement United Nations Resolution 2334 with all its provisions, with the aim of rebuilding trust and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace."

Israel moved forward on Wednesday with plans to build some 3,000 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.

The move has already been criticized by the United States. The Biden administration said Israel's actions are provocative and inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions.

Israel says construction 'essential to the Zionist vision'

Israel's Housing Minister, Zeev Elkin, said the continued construction was "essential to the Zionist vision" of strengthening Jewish presence in the West Bank.

Around 475,000 Israeli Jews live in illegal — according to international law — settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh had called on Washington to "confront" Israel on its settlement expansion.

Several Democrats have become increasingly frustrated with the US' unquestioning support of Israel. The lawmakers have called on President Joe Biden to condemn acts that undermine efforts to forge peace in the region.

jsi/rt (Reuters, AFP)