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EU warns Israel against settlement plans in Palestinian territories

European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 6, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

The European Union (EU) has called on Israel to halt its settlement construction and expansion plans in the occupied Palestinian territories, warning that the bloc will not recognize any new changes to the pre-1967 borders, including those pertaining to Jerusalem.

In a statement released on Friday, Josep Borrell, the EU's high representative for foreign and security policy, said, "Settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between" the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"The EU will continue to play its part supporting steps towards sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians," he added.

Earlier last week, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned the Israeli plans, describing them as "a blatant aggression on our lands." He called on the EU to take concrete action to stop Israel's expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

However, Israel's higher planning council approved the construction of more than 3,000 settlement units in the West Bank on Wednesday.

There are already 13 Israeli settlements in the occupied East Jerusalem and 253 settlements in other parts of the West Bank.

The West Bank is occupied territory under international law, making all Israeli settlements there illegal. The United Nations Security Council has condemned the settlement activities in several resolutions.

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