EU Deplores Latest Israel Settlement Plan
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The European Union said Thursday it deplored the latest Israeli decision to build new settler units in east al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the West Bank and that it should be reversed.
The move announced Sunday to build some 1,859 housing units threatens the Israel-Palestinian peace process, EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton said.
"The EU has repeatedly stated that settlements are illegal under international law and that bold and decisive leadership is needed for the current peace negotiations to succeed," Ashton said in a statement.
"The EU deplores the latest settlement announcement and calls on the Israeli government to reverse its decision, AFP reported.
"Any actions that could hamper or undermine the ongoing negotiations must be avoided," she added.
The building of new settlements on occupied Palestinian land is a key sticking point in the so-called peace talks which were only revived with great difficulty by US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year.
A bitter row has erupted over Israeli moves during the past week to push ahead with construction of a total of more than 3,700 new settler units.
Also on Wednesday, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said that Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are "illegitimate" and not helpful to ongoing efforts for peace between Palestine and Israel.
"Let me emphasize that the position of the United States is that we consider now, and have always considered, the settlements to be illegitimate," he said.
He added that there was no deal that the Palestinians recognized the illegal settlements in return for peace.
"I want to make it extremely clear that at no time did the Palestinians in any way agree, as a matter of going back to the talks, that they could somehow condone or accept the settlements," he said.