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EU diplomats affirm opposition to Israel settlement plans

Construction in an Israeli settlement, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on 13 October 2021 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images]
Construction in an Israeli settlement, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on 13 October 2021 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images]

The heads of missions and representatives from the European Union (EU) yesterday reaffirmed their opposition to Israel's settlement expansion project in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem.

The diplomats visited several areas in the occupied West Bank including the E1 area and Qalandia along the outer perimeter of occupied East Jerusalem, following a recent announcement by the Israeli government that major settlement plans in these areas would be advanced, Palestine's Wafa news agency reported.

The agency said the visit was organised by the Israeli NGO Ir Amim, which "briefed the diplomats about the extremely worrying consequences of the settlement plans for Givat Hamatos, Har Homa, E1 and Qalandia/Atarot,".

On Monday, the Office of the EU Representative for the West Bank and Gaza Strip published a press release in which it quoted EU Representative in Palestine Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff as saying: "The recent approvals of thousands of housing units for Israeli settlers aim at disconnecting the Palestinians from their city and changing East Jerusalem's identity."

"Israeli settlements are in clear violation of international law and constitute a major obstacle to a just, last and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians," Burgsdorff said.

In October, Israel's Higher Planning Council approved the advancement of plans to build 2,860 new housing units in 30 settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee will hold a hearing on 6 December, to discuss the construction of 9,000 housing units in the Israeli settlement of Atarot in East Jerusalem.

READ: Middle East Quartet 'deeply concerned' over Israeli settlements, West Bank violence

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