Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Spain have expressed concern about Israel’s plans to built nearly 5,000 housing units in the West Bank and called on Israel to stop all settlement-related activities in the region, according to a joint statement by the foreign ministries of these states.
“We are deeply concerned by the decision taken by the Israeli authorities to advance more than 4,900 settlement building units in the “occupied” West Bank. The expansion of settlements violates international law and further imperils the viability of a two-state solution to bring about a just and lasting peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, the statement read.
The European foreign ministries called Israel’s decision “counterproductive” in light of normalization agreements reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.
“We, therefore, call for an immediate halt to settlement construction, as well as to evictions and demolitions of Palestinian structures in East-Jerusalem and the West Bank,” the statement said.
The construction plans made public earlier in the week, have already been criticized as illegal by the United Nations’ Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov and Europe’s top diplomat Josep Borrell.