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UK calls on Israel to stop settlements expansion 'immediately'

January 9, 2020 at 8:28 am

Israeli settlements near Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on 10 February 2015 [Nedal Eshtayah/Apaimages]

The United Kingdom (UK) yesterday called in Israel to “immediately” halt illegal settlements’ expansion in the occupied West Bank.

In an official statement, the British consulate in Jerusalem stressed that the Jewish settlements were “illegal under international law,” adding that it was “sabotaging a possible two-state solution.”

On his part, the British Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs, Andrew Murrison, condemned the Israeli government’s plans to expand and build new settlement units in the West Bank.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN). The UN has published data showing a 45 per cent increase in the demolition and confiscation of Palestinian structures in the West Bank during 2019, compared to 2018.

On Sunday, the Israeli government approved the construction of 1,936 housing units in the occupied West Bank. A total of 786 units received the final endorsement, including 258 that are to be built in Haresha, an “illegal outpost” west of the city of Ramallah on the West Bank.

Roughly 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live in more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Palestinians want these territories — along with the Gaza Strip — for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.

READ: Turkey condemns Israel for building houses in Palestine