UK expresses ‘serious concern’ over settlement expansion ‘deep in West Bank’

A Foreign Office spokesperson said the plans could ‘threaten future peace negotiations’


Palestinians walk past a defaced mural painting of US President Donald Trump on Israel's controversial separation barrier, which divides the West Bank from Jerusalem, in the biblical town of Bethlehem on January 14, 2021. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

The UK said it was “seriously concerned” about Israel’s approval of plans to build 780 new homes in the West Bank and called for construction to cease immediately.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced the settlement proposals last week. They include over 100 new homes in Tel Menashe, where a French Israeli settler was killed last month.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said on Monday the plans could “threaten future peace negotiations.”
“The UK is seriously concerned by the government of Israel’s decision to approve the construction of 780 new settlement units across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including areas deep within the West Bank which could threaten future peace negotiations.
“Settlements are illegal under international law and risk undermining the physical viability of the two-state solution. We call for the construction of these in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank to cease immediately.”
The EU also condemned the plans which it said were “contrary to international law” and could undermine the prospect of a two-state solution.
“At this critical juncture for peace in the Middle East, these moves are also counterproductive in light of the positive developments of normalisation agreements between Israel and a number of Arab States,” an EU spokesperson said.
The move comes days before President Trump leaves office, with the incoming Biden administration expected to take a tougher stance against settlement expansion.

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