European Union Representative in Palestine, Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, said Wednesday that all forms of Israeli settlement building in the West Bank are illegal, Anadolu News Agency reports.
This statement came during a visit by a delegation of European ambassadors and consuls to the Palestinian towns of Sebastia and Burqa in the northern West Bank.
“Legalising the return of settlers to evacuated outposts in the northern West Bank is contrary to the decisions of Israel’s Supreme Court and to international law,” von Burgsdorff told reporters.
“All forms of settlements are illegal,” he added.
Last week, the chief of the Israeli military’s Central Command signed an order that allows Israelis to enter the Homesh outpost near Nablus, paving the way for a formal settlement to be built there, according to the Times of Israel newspaper.
“Israel must stop such measures, stop violence, and prevent settler attacks,” von Burgsdorff said. “Israel as an occupying power has to protect the Palestinians against these measures.”
In March, The Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed a bill to allow Israeli settlers to resettle in four settlements in the Occupied West Bank.
The bill rolled back legislation that ordered the evacuation of the illegal outposts of Homesh, Ganim, Kadim and Sa-Nur in the Occupied Territory in 2005.
In early May, Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, called on the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, to intervene to halt an Israeli settlement project in the Sebastia archaeological site in the Occupied West Bank.
Sebastia site is an ancient and historic site that dates back to the Hellenistic and Roman eras.
According to Haaretz newspaper, the Israeli government approved a proposal to invest 29 million Israeli shekels ($8 million) to develop the Sebastia site to allow more settlers to reach the area and to decrease Palestinians access there.