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UK, EU condemn huge Israeli settlement plans in occupied West Bank

This file picture taken on January 30, 2015, shows a general view of the Israeli settlement of Adam, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by AFP)

The British government and the European Union have condemned the Israel’s recent approval of plans for the construction of hundreds of new housing units in the occupied West Bank irrespective of the international outcry against the Tel Aviv regime’s land expropriation and settlement expansion policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt, called on Israel “to halt such counter-productive action” and encouraged “all parties to commit to further efforts to de-escalate current tensions and create the right environment for a just and lasting peace.”

“Settlements are illegal under international law and remain one of the obstacles to a viable two state solution,” Burt said in a statement.

The Europe Union also censured the Israeli regime over the settlement construction approvals.

“If implemented, these plans would further jeopardize the prospect of a contiguous and viable future Palestinian state,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The condemnation came just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wanted to strengthen Israel's ties with eastern European and non-EU countries in a bid to “balance the EU's unfriendly attitude” towards the Tel Aviv regime and get better treatment in Brussels.

Also on Friday, Turkey condemned Israel's endorsement of new housing units in the occupied West Bank.

“We strongly condemn the approval by Israel to build over 2,000 additional units in the West Bank, which is under Israeli occupation,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

This file picture shows a general view of the Turkish Foreign Ministry building in Ankara, Turkey. (Photo by Anadolu news agency)

The statement added that the “actions taken in disregard of international law and relevant UN Resolutions” would damage the ongoing peace process in the region, underlining that Israel's practices violate the “inalienable rights of Palestinian people.”

Turkey also called upon the international community to oppose Israel's plan to build more illegal settlements in the West Bank.

On Wednesday, the so-called Israeli Civil Administration Higher Planning Council approved construction of 2,000 settler units, including 1,000 completely ones, in the West Bank.

According to Hebrew-language Israeli news outlets, 55 units will be built in Beit El settlement, while 200 others will be constructed in Maale Efrayim. Another 30 units will be constructed in Ateneul settlement. Hundreds more settler units will be erected in Alfeh Minashei, Beit Aryeh and Adam settlements.

Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinian protesters run for cover as Israeli forces fire tear gas during clashes following a weekly demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, on August 17, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

Trump backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” earlier this year, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.

“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US president said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on February 15.

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