The European Union has censured the Israeli regime for its plans to expropriate Palestinian lands in the West Bank, saying the decision risks threatening the chances of ending the conflict in the occupied territories and creation of a future independent Palestinian state.
Israel’s decision to seize 234 hectares (579 acres) of land near the eastern city of Ariha (Jericho) in the occupied West Bank “is a further step that risks undermining the viability of a future Palestinian state and therefore calls into question Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution,” the 28-member bloc said in a statement released on Thursday.
It added, “Any decision that could enable further settlement expansion, which is illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace, will only drive the parties to the conflict even further apart.”
“The European Union remains firmly opposed to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in this context, including demolitions and confiscations, evictions, forced transfers or restrictions on movement and access,” the statement pointed out.
On Wednesday, Britain slammed Israel’s decision to further expand settlements in the West Bank, calling the move “an obstacle to peace.”
The Israeli NGO Peace Now, which tracks and opposes the expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, announced on Tuesday that the Israeli regime has already devised plans for expanding nearby settlements in the area.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.