World Jewish News
EU expresses ‘serious concern’ over Israel’s decision to approve construction of 465 new housing units in the West Bank
The European Union has expressed ‘serious concern’ over Israel’s decision to approve 465 new housing units in the West Bank and to retroactively approve 179 existing units.
The Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee, Israel’s governing body in the West Bank, which had been convened at the insistence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, approved the construction of the new housing units in Elkana, Ofarim, Beit Aryeh, Givat Ze’ev and Har Gilo.
The largest single bloc, in the settlement of Elkana, east of Tel Aviv, entails the construction of 234 housing units.
In a statement, an EU spokesperson reiterated the EU’s ‘’strong opposition to Israel's settlement policy and all actions taken in this context.’’
It said that ‘’since January 2016, Israeli authorities have promoted or retroactively legalised 2,706 units in West Bank settlements.’’
The EU referred to the Quartet report published last July which, it sai, ‘’identified such action as undermining the prospects for peace and steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution.’’
‘’The report recommended that any expansion of settlements be frozen,’’ the EU added.
In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the “significant expansion of the settlement activity” a “serious and growing threat to the viability of a two state solution.”
He said the US was “particularly troubled by the policy of retroactively approving illegal outposts and unauthorized settlements.”
“As the Quartet report highlights, we are concerned about a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalizations,” he said.