UN, EU slam Israeli plans to expand settlements in Jerusalem al-Quds
The United Nations and European Union have condemned the latest Israeli plan to construct over 1,200 new settler units in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, warning that settlement expansion prevent resumption of meaningful negotiations between Palestinians and Israel.
The Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now reported that Israeli authorities had opened up tenders for 1,257 new units in the settlement of Givat Hamatos.
“I am deeply worried by the Israeli authorities’ decision to open the bidding process for the construction of housing units for an entirely new settlement at Givat Hamatos,” EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said in a statement released on Sunday.
“This is a key location between Jerusalem (al-Quds) and Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Any settlement construction will cause serious damage to the prospects for a viable and contiguous Palestinian State and, more broadly, to the possibility of a negotiated two-state solution in line with the internationally agreed parameters,” he added.
Borrell further noted that Israeli settlements are illegal under the international law.
“The EU has repeatedly called on Israel to end all settlement activity, and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001. It remains the EU’s firm position that settlements are illegal under international law,” the top EU official pointed out.
Separately, the UN's Middle East peace envoy also decried the Israeli plan to expand settlements in East Jerusalem al-Quds, calling the regime to “reverse this step".
"If built, it would further consolidate a ring of settlements between Jerusalem [al-Quds] and Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank," Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said in a statement on Monday.
"It would significantly damage prospects for a future contiguous Palestinian State and for achieving a negotiated two-state solution based on the 1967 lines, with Jerusalem [al-Quds] as the capital” of the Palestinian state.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.