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France, Canada censure Israel's decision to 'legalize' five new West Bank settlements

An aerial view shows Givat Eviatar, an Israeli settler outpost, as smoke from fires lit in the Palestinian village of Beita drifts above, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. (File photo by Reuters)

France and Canada have roundly denounced a decision by the far-right Israeli administration to legalize five settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, and the regime's sanctions on the Palestinian Authority that were approved at the end of last month.

The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that it “strongly condemns” the moves, as well as the Wednesday declaration by the so-called Israeli Civil Administration concerning expropriation of thousands of acres of land in the strategic Jordan Valley.

The statement said the moves were “extremely serious” because of their implications for the stability of the West Bank and the West Asia region.

“Israeli colonization of the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem (al-Quds), constitutes a violation of international law,” the French Foreign Ministry stated.

“In addition to being a major obstacle to any just and lasting peace, this policy fuels tensions on the ground as violence perpetrated by settlers increases against the Palestinian population,” it further noted.

Also, Canada urged Israel’s right-wing coalition administration to reverse the decisions, saying the move was in contravention of international law.

“Canada firmly opposes Israel’s decision to approve new settlements in the West Bank. Unilateral actions, such as financially weakening the Palestinian Authority and expanding settlements are in contravention of international law,” the Canadian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its official X account.

Back on June 27, extremist Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich announced that the regime’s so-called Security Cabinet had authorized one outpost for every country that unilaterally recognized Palestine as a state a month earlier.

Spain, Ireland and Norway formally recognized the Palestinian state in May, joining over 140 UN member states that have recognized its statehood over the past four decades.

Slovenia and Malta have also indicated their intention to formally recognize the state of Palestine.

The five settlement outposts are Evyatar, Givat Assaf, Sde Efraim, Heletz, and Adorayim.

The European Union also slammed the move as “another deliberate attempt at undermining peace efforts”, while Germany called it “disturbing and cynical.”

Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said the move is aimed at pursuing a “war of genocide” against Palestinians, adding that the settlements are “illegal colonies that violate all international resolutions.

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

The international community views the settlements – hundreds of which have been built across the West Bank since Tel Aviv’s occupation of the territory in 1967 – as illegal under international law and the Geneva Conventions due to their construction on the occupied territories.

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

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