Rehalim outpost 370.
(photo credit: rechelim.org)
The European Union on Wednesday stated that it is "extremely concerned" about a government panel's Monday decision to recognize three West Bank outposts as legal settlements, calling upon Israeli authorities to backtrack.
The EU statement is the latest in an international chorus of
condemnations against the Israeli decision, as the US, UN, PA, France
and Jordan have all slammed the move.
In a press statement, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that
"settlements are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace
and threaten the viability of a two-state solution."
"I am extremely concerned about the decision... in the occupied
Palestinian territory. I call upon (Israeli authorities) to reverse this
decision," Ashton said.
The United States on Tuesday also expressed "concerned" over the move
and was seeking clarifications from Israel, according to a State
"We are obviously concerned by the reports
that we have seen. We have raised this with the Israeli government," US
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters. "We don't
think this is helpful to the [peace] process, and we don't accept the
legitimacy of continued settlement activity."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “troubled” by the approval of
Bruchin, Rehalim and Sansana. Such activity is illegal under Israeli law
and runs counter to the country’s obligation under the Road Map, he
said, adding that it also went against repeated calls from the Quartet
to refrain from provocation.
It is disappointing that such a decision comes at a time of renewed efforts to restart dialogue, he said.
has argued that the decision does not impact its obligations to the
international community, because it gave the approval to turn the three
outposts into settlements over a decade ago, but the decision was never
The PA urged Israel to “immediately halt unilateral actions” in the West Bank.
Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of “pushing matters once again toward a
Abu Rudaineh said the decision was an indication of
what the government’s upcoming response would be to the letter Abbas
sent Netanyahu last week.
The letter that chief PLO negotiator
Saeb Erekat and Majed Faraj, head of the Palestinian General
Intelligence Service in the West Bank, delivered to Netanyahu outlined
the PA’s stance toward the peace process and reiterated conditions for
the resumption of negotiations with Israel.
The PA is waiting for Netanyahu’s official response to the letter, Abu Rudaineh said.
to the decision to legalize the outposts, the spokesman stated: “Our
options will remain open if this is the Israeli response to the letter.”
met Tuesday in Jericho with US Middle East envoy David Hale and
reiterated the Palestinian demand for a cessation of settlement
construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Erekat said the PA was not setting any conditions for the resumption of the peace talks.
settlement construction, accepting the principle of the two-state
solution and the release of prisoners and detainees are not Palestinian
conditions, but obligations that Israel must fulfill,” he told the US
Erekat said he did not understand how one could talk about
a two-state solution while the Israeli government was building and
expanding and legalizing settlements.
He said that all the
settlements built on Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem,
were “illegal,” and added that the Israeli government should choose
between settlements and peace.
“The two don’t go together,” he
said. “If the Israeli government continues with its settlement policy,
it will destroy the two-state solution and the entire peace process.”