UK responds to Israeli announcement of more housing units

Amer Sultan in London , Saturday 25 Aug 2012

UK Minister for the MENA region responds to Israeli government's announcement of a tender for the construction of 130 more housing units in East Jerusalem

Settlements built by Israel in the occupied Palestine ( File photo: Reuters)

The UK government has strongly criticised Israel for continuing its illegal settlements in the Palestinian-occupied territories.

The Israeli government, headed by Benyamin Netanyahu, recently announced a tender for construction of 130 new housing unit in the illegal settlement of Har Homa in East Jerusalem.

“The recent announcement by the Israeli authorities is extremely worrying” the UK, Alistair Burt, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

The UK has repeatedly condemned the Jewish settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories, seeing the encroachment as an obstacle in  peaceful settlement of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict. 

However, the UK Foreign Office says that to put more pressure on Israel would be counterproductive and would not help achieve peace.

“We have expressed deep concern following previous announcements of construction in Har Homa and I am very disappointed that the construction of this illegal settlement has continued,” the statement said.

It called the Israeli government to rescind its decision.

"We condemn the systematic settlement construction that is undermining the possibility of a two-state solution," Burt added.

In June, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague called on Israel to change its approach towards constructing settlements in the occupied West Bank.

His statement read: "The British Government and our EU partners have made it consistently clear that settlement construction is illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and should stop immediately - in line with Israel’s own commitment under the 2003 Roadmap."

The statement considered the continued systematic settlement activity provocative and a breach of international law.

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