Israeli settlement plans in the West Bank draw condemnation from US, UK, Europe

The authorities of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett earlier this week printed fast tenders for greater than 1,300 housing models to be constructed within the West Bank, the place it’s also pushing plans for an additional 3,000 houses for Jewish settlers there.

Under worldwide legislation, each the West Bank and East Jerusalem are thought-about occupied territory and settlements there unlawful, which Israel disputes.

On Thursday, twelve European international locations urged Israel to “reverse its decision” in a joint assertion.

Palestinian laborers build new houses in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Bruchin on Monday, October 25, 2021.

“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. 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,” learn the assertion from the overseas ministries of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

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James Cleverly, the UK’s Minister for the Middle East and North Africa echoed the sentiment in a separate assertion, including that “settlements are illegal under international law and present an obstacle to peace and stability.”

The Israeli announcement had already drawn the ire of the US State Department, with spokesman Ned Price criticizing the transfer on Tuesday as “completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm.”

The Biden administration “strongly oppose[s] the expansion of settlements,” Price mentioned.

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The transfer is more likely to put a contemporary wrinkle in relations between the Biden administration and the Bennett authorities, although Israel hopes to assuage tensions quickly with an anticipated determination to green-light multiple thousand new houses for Palestinians within the West Bank.

The timing of the announcement can be being criticized at house by left and center-left events in Israel’s governing coalition, one other signal of strains in Bennett’s authorities.

According to Israeli settlement monitoring group Peace Now, there are greater than 270 settlements within the West Bank and not less than 450,000 Israelis residing there.

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