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EU urges Israel to halt settlement expansion in West Bank

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)
Laborers work on the roof of a building under construction in the Israeli settlement of Karmel in the southern area of al-Khalil (Hebron) in the occupied West Bank, on January 12, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The European Union has urged Israel to halt its settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.

On Sunday, the anti-settlement monitoring group Peace Now said Israeli authorities advanced plans for the construction of 780 new illegal settler units in the occupied West Bank.

“Israel's latest decision to advance plans for the approval and construction of almost 800 new settlement units in the West Bank is contrary to international law and further undermines the prospects of a viable two-state solution,” the European Commission’s spokesperson on foreign affairs said in a statement.

The statement also called on the Israeli regime “to suspend the ongoing bidding process for the construction of new housing units for an entirely new settlement in Givat Hamatos”.

The latest settlement announcements came after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Monday ordered construction plans advanced for the 800 new settler units in the occupied West Bank, days before the pro-settlements US President Donald Trump's administration leaves office.

Also on Sunday, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate strongly condemned the Israeli regime’s new settlement expansion plan.

The ministry’s spokesman Dhaifullah al-Fayez said in a statement that the move marks a flagrant and grave violation of the international law and resolutions, most notably the UN Security Council Resolution 2334.

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

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.

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

After Trump took office in December 2016, Israel stepped up its settlement expansion in defiance of Resolution 2334, which pronounces settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

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