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UK, Canada, Australia express 'deep concern' about Israeli settlements expansion

July 1, 2023 at 2:32 pm

New buildings in the Israeli settlement in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.[HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images]

The UK, Canada, and Australia expressed “deep concern” late Friday about the expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories and called on Tel Aviv to reverse its decision, Anadolu reports.

“The continued expansion of settlements is an obstacle to peace and negatively impacts efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution. We call on the Government of Israel to reverse these decisions,” the foreign ministers of the three nations said in a statement.

They said they “unequivocally condemn” all forms of terrorism and violence against civilians and urged authorities to ensure accountability for all perpetrators of violence.

READ: Spain rejects Israel settlement expansion, condemns settlers’ violence

“The cycle of violence in Israel and the West Bank must be broken,” it said. “Australia, Canada and the UK stand firmly with the Israeli and Palestinian people in their right to live in peace and security, with dignity, without fear and with their human rights fully respected.”

Reiterating that they will continue to support a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region, “including the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel,” the statement underlined that it can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties.

Spain also earlier rejected the expansion of Israeli settlements and condemned violence by settlers, calling Tel Aviv’s decision contrary to international law and an impediment to peace.

Israel approved plans Tuesday for more than 5,700 additional illegal Jewish residences in the occupied West Bank, raising the total in 2023 to a record of over 13,000.

The latest expansion announcement sparked a range of criticism from countries and international organizations including the UN.

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