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France urges Israel to reconsider settler home approvals in West Bank

Protestors take part in a demonstration against US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a protest at the Place de la Republique in Paris, France on December 09, 2017 [Nedim / Anadolu Agency]
Protestors take part in a demonstration against US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a protest at the Place de la Republique in Paris, France on 9 December, 2017 [Nedim/Anadolu Agency]

France on Thursday called on Israel to reconsider recently issued approvals for more than 2,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank, saying they would violate international law, reports Reuters.

Israel's Higher Planning Committee approved 2,191 new housing units in Israeli settlements on December 25 and 26, though no building permits have been issued yet.

The French foreign office said in a statement:

France condemns this decision, which expands settlement activity in the West Bank.

The settlements undermined the conditions for a two-state solution, "the only way to ensure a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and heightens tensions" it said, calling on the Israeli authorities to reconsider the decisions.

Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War that are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians.

READ: France calls on Israel not to demolish Khan Al-Ahmar

Settlements are one of the thorniest issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014.

Most countries consider all settlements that Israel has built in captured territory to be illegal. Israel disputes this and says their future should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.

While Israel's settlement projects have regularly drawn condemnation from the Palestinians and in Europe, the US administration under President Donald Trump has taken a largely uncritical public stand.

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Europe & RussiaFranceIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestine
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