EU: New settlement building units are obstacle to peace

After ministry issues tenders for 336 new units, EU spokeswoman says "actions run counter to efforts of int'l community to achieve peace."

July 19, 2011 21:21
1 minute read.
Construction work in Beitar Illit [file].

construction work in beitar illit 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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The European Union on Tuesday criticized an Israeli plan to build over 300 new housing units in two West Bank settlements, AFP reported quoting an EU spokeswoman.

The Ministry of Housing and Construction on Monday published tenders for 336 settlement units, 294 of which will be built in the Beitar Illit settlement just outside of Jerusalem and 42 in the Karnei Shomron settlement outside of Kfar Sava.

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"We reiterate that the EU considers that settlement activities in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, undermine trust between the parties and constitute an obstacle to peace," Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, was quoted as saying by AFP.

She added, "These actions run counter to the repeated efforts of the international community to achieving a peaceful solution to the conflict that will preserve Israel's security and realize the Palestinians' right to statehood."

The Palestinian Authority on Monday also strongly condemned plans to build new homes in West Bank settlements as unacceptable and illegal and said it was now more determined to proceed with its statehood bid in September.

Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the continued construction in the settlements “prompts us to go to the UN and the Security Council to ask for recognition of a Palestinian state and full membership in the UN.”

Abu Rudaineh said that the decision to build new homes in the settlements in particular and the Israeli government’s policy regarding settlements in general was completely unacceptable “because all the settlements are illegitimate and must be removed.”

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