Egypt’s foreign ministry denounced on Sunday the Israeli authorities’ approval of plans to construct 780 homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank, describing the step as “another violation of the international legitimacy decisions."
In a statement, foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez reiterated Egypt’s full rejection of the continuation of settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, stressing the need to stand against such violations.
The new setlement construction activities announced by Israel on Sunday include 100 homes in Tal Menashe, a settlement where an Israeli woman was killed last month in an attack for which a Palestinian man has been charged.
Hafez noted Egypt’s concerns over the impact of these activities on the possibility of achieving a two-state solution.
"These activities pose obstacles to the intensified efforts made to push the peace process forward and resume negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides," he said.
According to Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement monitoring group, Israel approved or advanced construction of more than 12,000 settlement homes last year.
This is the highest number of new settlements in a single year since 2012, Peace Now says.
The anti-settlement monitoring group added that more than 90% of the homes lay deep inside the West Bank, which the Palestinians seek as the heartland of a future independent state.
Egypt has repeatedly condemned Israeli construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank both as a violation of international law and an impediment to peace efforts.
Cairo supports the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as the only way to reach a just solution to the Palestinian cause.
In recent weeks, Egypt has intensified efforts to jump-start the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.Last Monday, Cairo hosted the latest meeting of the Munich Quartet, which comprises Egypt, Jordan, France and Germany, to discuss ways to push the peace process forward.