13 European states call on Israel to halt plans for 3,000 settlement homes

A day after US rebuke, UK, France and Germany are among countries saying Israel should ‘immediately’ scrap project

A picture taken on November 19, 2019 shows a new housing construction site in the Israeli settlement of Elazar, near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

A group of 12 countries on Thursday collectively urged Israel to scrap plans for the construction of more than 3,000 settler homes in the West Bank. The United Kingdom separately issued a similar statement urging Israel to reverse plans for fresh settlement construction.

A day after the US criticized the plan, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden said in a joint statement that Israel should cancel its decision to build in the settlements.

“We urge the Government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance plans for the construction of around 3,000 settlement units in the West Bank,” the foreign ministries of the 12 said.

 

“We reiterate our strong opposition to its policy of settlement expansion across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which violates international law and undermines efforts for the two-state solution,” they said.

In its own statement, the UK said settlements “are illegal under international law and present an obstacle to peace and stability.” It urged Jerusalem to reverse its decision.

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