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EU censures Israel settlement expansion

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian children search for toys in the remains of their home after it was demolished by Israeli regime bulldozers in the south of the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on February 2, 2016. (AFP)

The European Union on Saturday censured the Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, calling on the Tel Aviv regime to stop demolition of Palestinian homes, some of which were funded by the EU.

"In the past weeks there have been a number of developments in Area C of the West Bank, which risk undermining the viability of a future Palestinian state and driving the parties yet further apart," the EU diplomatic service said in a statement.

It referred to the Israeli regime's decision on January 25 to declare 154 hectares (380 acres) of land near Jericho in the West Bank as its own land, with reported plans to build about 150 new units for settlers.

This was followed by the demolition of several Palestinian homes in the south of al-Khalil (Hebron) on Wednesday.

"This is particularly concerning both because of the extent of the demolitions and also the number of vulnerable individuals affected, including children who need support," the EU said, adding that "demolitions included EU-funded structures."

"We call on the Israeli authorities to reverse the decisions taken and to halt further demolitions," it said.

The photo taken on February 1, 2016, shows a partial view of the Israeli settlement of Efrat, located on the southern outskirts of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (AFP)

Foreign ministers from the 28 EU states have confirmed "the EU's firm opposition to Israel's settlement policy" and criticized the actions including demolitions.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday he was "ashamed" at a lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian talks, which have been deadlocked since 2014.

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