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Palestinian PM calls on EU to halt Israel's plan to construct thousands of new settler units

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 Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (C) passes through the revolving gate of an Israeli checkpoint ahead of a visit to the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Israeli occupied West Bank town of al-Khalil on September 27, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has called on the EU to take concrete action to stop Israel's expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank, after Tel Aviv approved to build thousands of new settler units.

In a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels, Shtayyeh urged the 27-nation bloc to pressure Israel to abide by all existing accords and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The premier expressed further concern over Israel’s attempts to change the status of holy sites and Judaize al-Quds.

Shtayyeh also strongly denounced the forcible displacement and transfer of Palestinians, especially in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods in East al-Quds.

He invited Borrell to visit Palestine and closely monitor the suffering of the Palestinian people and violation of their rights by Israeli forces.  

The premier renewed his call for the EU countries to immediately recognize the State of Palestine, adding that the prospect of an independent Palestinian state is dwindling with the increase in settlements.

In recent days, Israel has advanced plans for the construction of more settler units in the occupied West Bank. The occupying regime has approved construction of over 3,000 settler units in the occupied territories.

On Wednesday, a military committee gave the green light to the construction of 1,800 homes, and the initial approval for another 1,344 units in the West Bank.

The approval came a day after a rare criticism of the move by Washington.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Tuesday that Washington was concerned about the “plan to advance thousands of settlement units tomorrow, Wednesday, many of them deep in the West Bank.”

Since taking office in January, US President Joe Biden and his top aides have been reluctant to criticize Israel in public. They have only issued general warnings against steps they say harm the "‘two-state solution".

Japan condemns Israeli tenders 

Separately, Japan decried the Israeli regime’s recent decision to publish tenders for the construction of thousands of settler units in the West Bank and East al-Quds.

“The Government of Japan deeply deplores the continued settlement activities by Israel despite repeated calls for freezing such activities from Japan and the international community,” Japan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

It reiterated that the settlement activities are in violation of international law, urging the Israeli regime to rescind the decision.

“Japan strongly urges Israel to rescind the above-mentioned tenders and approval of the construction plans, and to totally freeze its settlement activities.”

Israel occupied East al-Quds during the 1967 war and annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move that failed to gain recognition of the international community. Palestinians want the occupied West Bank as part of their future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds. All the settlements are illegal under international law. The United Nations Security Council has condemned the settlement activities in several resolutions.

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