EU, U.K., Germany and France Condemn Israeli Plan to Build Hundreds of Settlement Homes

Both parties call on Israel to reconsider the move they say only further jeopardizes the two state solution

A construction site is seen in the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, in the occupied West Bank December 22, 2016
REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

The United Kingdom and the European Union condemned Israeli approval of over a thousand new housing units in the West Bank on Thursday, calling the settlements illegal and a threat to the two-state solution.

A statement by the U.K.'s Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said that the U.K. "strongly condemns" the move, and called on Israel to "reconsider" its proposals.

Burt also condemned the advancement of plans for a further 1,122 settlement units across the West Bank.

A statement released by the EU said the move jeapordises the viability of a future Palestininan state, and called on Israel to "reconsider and reverse" the decision. The EU said it would continue to work with both parties to work towards a negotiated two-state solution.

Germany expressed concern over the decision. "Particularly worrying is the high proportion of new housing units in settlements that are located far from the 1967 border and the retroactive legalization of apartments built on private Palestinian land in an illegal outpost," the statement said. "Those who create facts unilaterally now make future negotiations even more difficult."

The French Embassy in Israel, in turn, released a statement echoing the condemnation and adding that the settlements "hinder the search for a just and lasting peace and impedes the two-state solution It also fuels tensions on the ground."

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 war and has since built dozens of settlements there.

Much of the international community views the settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel says the fate of settlements must be resolved through negotiations.

At home, Israeli anti-settlement Peace Now also denounced the 1,122 new settlement units which were approved this week.

Hagit Ofran, a group member, says the government is trying to prevent the possibility for peace and a two state solution. She says it adds more people Israel will need to evict in a peace agreement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report