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France condemns resumption of Israeli settlements' construction in Jerusalem

January 24, 2017 at 12:54 am

France condemned on Monday the Israeli government’s approval of the construction of new Jewish homes in Jewish neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, Haaretz reported.

“Settlements represent a serious threat to the two-state solution, to which the international community reiterated its commitment at the international conference in Paris on January 15”, a French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Roman Nadal said in a statement on Monday.

“UN Security Council resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016, underscores the illegality of settlements under international law and demands an immediate and complete halt to such activity”, the ministry statement added.

On Sunday, two days after Trump’s inauguration, Israel approved the construction of 566 new housing units, which are slated to be built in the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Ramot, Ramat Shlomo and Pisgat Ze’ev.

The homes were set to be approved for construction in December, but the measure was pulled from the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee’s agenda at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, fearing further pressure from the Obama administration which did not veto the UN resolution.

The settlements’ rebuilt approval was also backed by a telephone conversation on Sunday between the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the new US President Donald Trump, during which they discussed ways to strengthen relations between their two countries and “threats posed by Iran”.

Jerusalem officials believe Trump as more supportive of Israeli government policy, though the new administration has not yet laid out any official policy.

Last December, The UN Security Council has voted in favour of a resolution demanding the halt of settlement activity by Israel on occupied Palestinian territory with the United States notably abstaining.

Most countries see Israeli settlements as a major stumbling block to peace efforts as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state; on the contrary, Israel considers them neighbourhoods of annexed East Jerusalem and argues that they will be part of Israel in any negotiated peace agreement.