European Union Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said on Wednesday that Israel's decision to build and make plans for 6,000 settlement housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, some deep inside the territory, endangers and threatens to render it impossible to achieve an envisaged two-state solution.
"The announcement marks a very worrying trend, posing a direct challenge to the prospects of a viable two-state solution, which is increasingly difficult and risks becoming impossible," Mogherini's statement said.
"The European Union is strongly opposed to this policy and deeply regrets that Israel is proceeding with this, despite the continuous serious international concern and objections, which have been constantly raised at all levels."
A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said that within just a week Israeli authorities have announced plans to build twice the number of housing units as approved in all of 2016.
France firmly condemns this decision, the spokesman said.
France reiterated that settlement construction is contrary to international law and notably United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, and that it seriously compromises the prospects of a fair and lasting peace, the spokesman said.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's office announced the construction plans in a statement on Tuesday, as Israeli police were preparing to enforce a court-ordered evacuation of the illegal West Bank outpost Amona.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the construction of more than 3,000 housing units in the settlements, more than 2,000 for immediate construction and the rest in various planning stages.
Last week, Netanyahu approved the construction and planning of another 2,500 West Bank housing units.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now