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EU: Israel built 22,030 settlement units in 2021

Construction work on Israeli settlements [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]
Construction work on Israeli settlement unit [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

Israeli authorities built a total of 22,030 illegal settlement units in 2021, the European Union (EU) announced yesterday.

"14,894 settlement units were built in occupied East Jerusalem, and 7,136 others were built in other parts of the West Bank, including locations deep in the West Bank" the EU said in a report entitled "2021 Report on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem."

It added: "In comparison to the previous year, 2021 experienced an even higher rate of settlement units advancements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (22,030), enforcing the trend of a continuously increasing settlement expansion on occupied Palestinian territories."

"Adding to the exponentially high figures in 2021 were particularly the advancement of settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem, which more than doubled compared to the previous year, from 6,288 housing units to 14,894."

"This trend of deepening settlement projects through plans and tenders occurred despite the announcement by the new Israeli government, which started its tenure on 13 June 2021, that it would be committed to a status quo when it comes to occupation-related matters," the union pointed out.

READ: Far-right Israel settler movement invades Palestinian territories to set up illegal outposts

The advancement, the report explained, had occurred in three settlements, including "E1, Atarot and Lower Aqueduct." The E1 settlement plan is located in "Area C" of the occupied West Bank, which is under both Israel's military and administrative control, and the so-called Lower Aqueduct Plan. "If constructed, these plans would provide more than 14,000 additional housing units in and around occupied East Jerusalem," the union warned.

The report noted that the Atarot project comprised a total of "9,000 illegal settlement units," adding that the Lower Aqueduct Plan had comprised "1,465 units."

The EU warned that the expansion of settlements would "disconnect East Jerusalemites from major West Bank urban areas, such as Hebron and Ramallah," adding that it would also have "serious implications on Palestinian urban continuity and pose a serious threat to a viable two-state solution."

The union called on the Israeli authorities "to end all settlement activity, and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001." "It remains the EU's firm position that settlements are illegal under international law," it stressed.

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