“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 parties. The European Union has consistently made clear that it is strongly opposed to the expansion of settlements and will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties,” reads a statement issued by spokesperson of European External Action Service.
“We renew our call upon the Government of Israel to reverse these steps which are completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm, to halt settlement construction, and to focus on furthering meaningful re-engagement between the parties, advancing confidence-building measures and improving living conditions for ordinary people, which are urgently needed. The EU will continue to play its part supporting steps towards sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” adds the statement.
Earlier, 12 European nations urged Israel on Thursday to shelve plans to build 3,000 settlement units in the West Bank.
The foreign ministries of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden, issued a joint statement opposing the building work across the occupied Palestinian Territories, according to Deutsche Welle.
Israel’s Housing Minister, Zeev Elkin, said the continued construction was “essential to the Zionist vision” of strengthening Jewish presence in the West Bank.
Around 475,000 Israeli Jews live in illegal — according to international law — settlements in the West Bank.