EU Slams Israel’s Settlement Plans in East Jerusalem
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The EU criticized Israel for recently approving the construction of 900 new settler homes in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), joining the US and Palestinian condemnation of Tel-Aviv’s settlement policies.
“Israel’s determination to continue its settlement policy despite the urging of the international community not only threatens the viability of the two state solution but also seriously calls into question its commitment to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians,” the EU said in a statement on Saturday.
“Settlements are illegal under international law,” the statement stressed.
Jerusalem’s district planning committee issued a fresh batch of construction approvals on Wednesday, according to settlement watchdog Peace Now.
The new homes are to be built in Ramat Shlomo, an ultra-Orthodox settlement neighborhood nestled in mostly Arab East Jerusalem, Hagit Ofran, a spokesman for Settlement watchdog Peace Now, told AFP.
The move came shortly after re-elected Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, struck a deal with Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi), a Zionist pro-settlement party, to form a new rightwing-religious coalition government.
The Palestinian authorities condemned the new government, with senior Palestinian official, Nabil Shaath, calling it a “colonial settler cabinet.”
Israeli settlement plans were slammed by Washington on Thursday, with US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke calling them “a disappointing development.”
“We continue to engage with the highest levels of the Israeli Government, and we continue to make our position clear that we view this as illegitimate,” he added.
The Israeli interior ministry first voiced plans to build 1,600 settler homes in Ramat Shlomo back in March 2010, RT reported.