UK, Canada, Australia urge Israel to stop settlement expansion in Palestinian territories

Ahram Online , Saturday 1 Jul 2023

The United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia on Friday called on the Israeli government to reverse recently approved plans for more settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli settlements
File photo: A view of construction work in the Jewish settlement of Givat Ze ev, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, in the West Bank on May 10, 2022. AFP

 

In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of Britain, Australia and Canada said they were “gravely concerned” by Israel's decision to advance plans for some 5,700 new houses for Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, part of the more than 13,000 settlement homes that have been advanced through a pair of major planning stages so far in 2023.

The three countries condemned Israel’s “continued expansion of settlements” which they described as “an obstacle to peace” and a move that “negatively impacts efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution.”

“We are gravely concerned by the Government of Israel’s approval on June 26 of over 5,700 new settlement units in the West Bank. We are also concerned by the changes to the settlement approval process instituted by the Government of Israel on June 18, which facilitate swifter approval of construction in settlements,” said James Cleverly, Hon Penny Wong, and Mélanie Joly, the foreign minister of the UK, Australia, and Canada, respectively.

“We call on the government of Israel to reverse these decisions,” they stressed.

The international community, along with the Palestinians, considers settlement construction illegal or illegitimate and an obstacle to peace.

Over 700,000 Israelis settlers now live in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in 1967 and sought by the Palestinians for a future state.

​All kinds of Israeli settlement activities in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are considered illegal by the international community.

 
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