The European Union (EU) has criticised Israel's continuous settlement construction and warned that time is running out for the two-state solution with Israel.
On Friday, EU Representative to the Palestinian Authority Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff confirmed that the Israeli settlement plans defy international law and destabilise the status quo.
"Israeli settlements are in clear violation of international law and constitute a major obstacle to a just, last[ing] and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians," he stated.
Burgsdorff, who led an EU delegation of representatives of more than 20 European countries on Sunday, on a visit to the old Qalandia Airport in the occupied Palestinian lands, stressed that the EU couldn't "close its eyes" to the Israeli settlement projects.
Ynet News reported that Burgsdorff was referring to two settlement construction announcements recently made by Israel.
The Israeli news website stated that one is a plan to build close to 3,500 settlement units near the Ma'ale Adumim settlement, in the area known as E1 of the occupied West Bank.
The other controversial construction announcement is the 9,000 settlement units planned for the Atarot area of East Jerusalem on the site of Qalandia Airport, which opened in 1924 and closed in 2000.
Palestinians have asserted that they want an airport to return to the Qalandia Airport site. The projects are illegal and against international law, Palestinian officials say, adding that they will end any possibility for a contiguous Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Ahmed Rafiq Awad, president of the Jerusalem Centre for Future Studies at Al-Quds University, said that the statement made by Burgsdorff is welcomed by Palestinians: "But it must be translated into actions."
Ynet News reported him stating: "These are statements made for public consumption, this is not enough; we need this to be translated into actions, by pressuring Israel politically and supporting the Palestinians. The EU must translate this into sanctions against Israel, besiege settlements, delegitimise the Israeli occupation and recognise the Palestinian state."