The US, the UK, France, Germany and Italy on Tuesday said they were “deeply troubled” by Israel’s decision to dramatically expand its network of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, reports Anadolu Agency.
In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US rejected the Israeli announcement that it is advancing nearly 10,000 settlement units and intends to begin a process to normalise nine illegal outposts.
“We strongly oppose these unilateral actions which will only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution,” said the statement.
Israel’s government on Sunday moved to advance 10,000 new settlement homes in the West Bank, and began the process to retroactively legalise nine settler outposts that were previously illegal under Israeli law.
The top diplomats also reiterated their support for comprehensive and lasting peace in the region “which must be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties.”
“We reaffirm our commitment to helping Israelis and Palestinians fulfill the vision of an Israel fully integrated into the Middle East living alongside a sovereign, viable Palestinian state,” the statement read.
The statement also noted that they will continue to monitor developments closely on the ground.