US, UK, Europe condemn plans to settle Israel in West Bank

the government of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Benedetto Urgent tenders were published earlier this week for the construction of more than 1,300 housing units in the West Bank, where it is also pushing for plans for 3,000 more homes for Jewish settlers there.

Under international law, the territories occupied by both the West Bank and East Jerusalem and settlements there are considered illegal, which Israel disputes.

On Thursday, twelve European countries urged Israel to “reverse its decision” in a joint statement.

“We urge the Government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance plans for the construction of approximately 3,000 settlement units in the West Bank. We reiterate our strong opposition to our policy of settlement expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which is subject to international law. violates and undermines efforts for a two-state solution,” read the statement from the foreign ministries of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

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Britain’s minister for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverley, echoed the sentiment in a separate statement, saying that “settlements are illegal under international law and present an obstacle to peace and stability.”

Israel’s announcement had already attracted the ire of the US State Department, with spokesman Ned Price criticizing the move on Tuesday, saying it was “totally inconsistent with efforts to de-escalate tensions and ensure peace.”

Biden Administration “Strong Opposition”[s] Expansion of settlements,” Price said.

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The move is likely to add a new wrinkle to relations between the Biden administration and the Bennett government, although Israel is expected to defuse tensions soon with an expected decision to green light more than a thousand new homes for Palestinians in the West Bank. have hope.

The timing of the announcement is also being criticized at home as a further sign of tensions in Bennett’s government, a leftist and centre-left party in Israel’s governing coalition.

According to the Israel Settlement Monitoring Group Peace Now, there are more than 270 settlements in the West Bank and at least 450,000 Israelis live there.