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UK condemns Israeli plans for new West Bank units

August 23, 2018 at 6:00 pm

Alistair Burt, minister for the Middle East

The UK government has voiced its condemnation to the Israeli government’s announcement of plans to construct more units in the West Bank, according to a statement.

“Yesterday’s announcement of plans to construct over 1,000 units on the West Bank, and last week’s tendering for 1,100 more, continue policies that are rightly condemned internationally,” Alistair Burt, minister for the Middle East, said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“The UK echoes this condemnation today,” he added.

Describing the settlements as “illegal under international law,” Burt said they “remain one of the obstacles to a viable two-state solution.”

Israel on Tuesday announced plans to build 650 new settler units in the central West Bank, according to Hebrew-language daily Israel Hayom.

Read: Israel to build 650 new settlement units in West Bank

On Wednesday, the Israeli government advanced plans for the construction of more than 1,000 housing units.

The new housing units will be built in the Jewish-only Beit El settlement, which is located adjacent to the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The new units are ostensibly meant to compensate Jewish settlers evacuated earlier from illegal settlement outposts elsewhere in the West Bank.

“I call on Israel to halt such counterproductive action, and for all parties to commit to further efforts to de-escalate current tensions and create the right environment for a just and lasting peace,” Burt said.

According to Palestinian figures, more than 700,000 Jewish settlers now live on 196 settlements (built with Israeli government approval) and more than 200 settler outposts (built without its approval) across the occupied West Bank.

Israel’s continued policy of unbridled settlement-building is seen as the main obstacle to resuming Palestine-Israel peace talks, which broke down in 2014.