The European Union condemned Israel’s settlement approvals as “further jeopardizing the prospect of a contiguous and viable future Palestinian state.”
“The European Union’s position on Israeli settlement construction and related activities is clear and has not changed: all settlement activity is illegal under international law, and it undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace. The EU expects the Israeli authorities to reconsider and reverse these decisions,” an EU spokesperson said in a statement, eeas.europa.eu reported.
The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, also condemned the new settlement approvals as an obstacle to peace.
Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement group that monitors settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, said Israeli authorities have approved more than 1,100 new settler units in the West Bank.
According to Peace Now, Israel approved 6,742 settlement units for construction in 2017, the highest figure since 2013. In 2016, the number was 2,629 units.
Wednesday’s approvals came just days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party voted for a resolution that calls for the formal annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank.
Tel Aviv has stepped up its land grab policies since January 2016, when Trump took office.ump took office.