Israel must halt settlement expansion in contravention of international law, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said yesterday.
The British Foreign minister attacked Israel’s decision to build 2,304 new settlement-housing units on occupied West Bank lands.
“We urge Israel to halt its settlement expansion, which is contrary to international law and promotes the effective annexation of the West Bank,” Raab added in a statement.
The statement noted that the Israeli cabinet a week ago approved 700 housing units for Palestinians. However, the minister considered that “much more needs to be done”.
“The UK continues to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms that allow Palestinians to build within Area C,” the statement continued.
The UK is still “seriously concerned” about the continued demolition of Palestinian properties by the Israeli occupation authorities, the statement added.
In this context, Israel welcomed two weeks ago the election of Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister, who had already described himself as a “true friend of Israel.”
“Johnson will maintain his good relations with Israel,” a source close to the new British prime minister was quoted as saying.
The EU has also renewed its opposition to the settlement policy, arguing that it is illegal under international law as it undermines the viability of a two-state solution and the possibility of lasting peace.
A statement of the European External Action Service in Brussels said that “the Israeli authorities have approved on the proposal to build more than 2,000 housing units in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and the EU’s position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory is clear and remains unchanged: Any settlement activity is illegal under international law and undermines the viability of a two-state solution and the possibility of lasting peace.”
The statement noted that the Israeli cabinet approved the establishment of 700 housing units for Palestinians in Area C, but added that “the Palestinian population living in Area C is facing repeated confiscation, demolition, displacement and land confiscation, while all their main plans and building permits submitted for the Palestinian development is still not adopted.”
The statement explained that the EU expects the Israeli authorities to fulfill their obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law, and to stop the policy of building and expanding settlements.