UN Slams Israel's 'Effective Annexation' of West Bank After 2,000 Settlement Units Approved

EU, U.K. and UN Mideast envoy denounce move, calling on Israel to halt settlement expansion in violation of international law

Housing units in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, near Jerusalem, September 7, 2018.
Emil Salman

The European Union, United Kingdom and the United Nation's Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov have denounced Israeli plans to build over 2,000 settlement units in the West Bank.

Israel's Civil Administration approved the proposed plans this week and construction is currently pending. Among units approved include 537 in Alon Shvut, 18 in Ma’aleh Adumim, 66 in Efrat and 96 in Kiryat Netafim.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab slammed the move on Wednesday, calling on Israel to stop the plans. "We urge Israel to halt its settlement expansion, which is contrary to international law and promotes the effective annexation of the West Bank," Raab said in an official statement.

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"The U.K. continues to urge the government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms that allow Palestinians to build within Area C," Raab added.

Mladenov also condemned the move as an impendent to a two-state solution, saying it "constitutes a flagrant violation of international law" and "undermines the chances for establishing a Palestinian state based on relevant UN resolutions." 

On Tuesday the EU blasted the move in an official statement, saying: "All settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace."

The EU called on Israeli authorities to cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion and "denying Palestinian development."

The expansion comes after an Israeli security cabinet unanimously approved construction permits for 715 housing units in Palestinians towns in Area C of the West Bank last Tuesday, the first such decision since 2016.