A general view of houses in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the West Bank.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Israeli settlement building is forcing a one-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the European Union warned Thursday evening in response to the advancement of plans for 1,958 settler homes this week.
“These developments, alongside a number of other related actions taken in recent months, seriously undermine the viability of a negotiated two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” the EU said.
“This issue has been raised directly with the Israeli authorities,” it added.
Last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman pledged to advance and approve 3,900 new settler units.
On Wednesday the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria finalized plans for 696 and advanced plans for 1,262 homes, according to calculations done by the left-wing group Peace Now.
Out of those, 45% are located outside the route of the security barrier in what is known as isolated settlements.
The approvals include the authorization of the Zayit Raanan outpost, as a new neighborhood of the Talmon settlement.
Also on the list are final approvals for 92 units in the Kfar Adumim settlements. The homes will be located about a kilometer away from the unauthorized Beduin village of Khan Al Ahmar.
The High Court of Justice ruled last move that the village must be relocated.
It’s expected that outside of the approvals from the Higher Planning Council, the Construction Ministry will issue tenders for at least 1,400 more homes.
The EU was particularly upset over the decision to raze Khan Al Ahmar while constructing settler homes nearby.
“Building new settlements for Israelis while demolishing Palestinian homes in the same area will only further entrench a one-state reality of unequal rights, perpetual occupation and conflict,” the EU said.
“In line with our long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, the EU expects the Israeli authorities to reconsider and reverse these decisions,” the EU said.
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman welcomed the approvals but said that more building is needed and called on the government to remove all restrictions on building in Judea and Samaria.
“We need a lot more [homes]! We will continue to submit more and more plans. We will continue to build, we will continue to develop Gush Etzion, and we will work toward full sovereignty,” he said.
Mount Hebron Regional Council head Yochai Damri issued a jubilant message in which he thanked the Higher Planning Council for approving a master plan for the settlement of Negahot, some 20 years after the creation of the community.
He also welcomed the decision to expand the communities in his region, where permits have been few and far between.
“Today, more than ever, even the Left understands that our presence here provides security for Israeli citizens,” Damri said.
Peace Now also spoke of the harm done to the two-state solution by these plans.
“It is precisely the number of settlers in the settlements that is crucial, since ultimately Israel’s biggest challenge in a two-state agreement is the evacuation of tens of thousands of people,” Peace Now explained.
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