Published: Sat, October 17, 2020

Five EU states urge a halt to settlements in occupied lands

Five EU states urge a halt to settlements in occupied lands

Around 450,000 Israeli settlers now live in the West Bank and have frequently clashed with Palestinian communities.

After the United States, respondents thought that the most important thing for Israel is Russian Federation (18 percent), followed by Germany (12 percent), the United Kingdom (6 percent), Egypt (6 percent) and Japan (5 percent).

The West Bank has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.

Among settlements to grow under the latest approvals is Har Gilo, in the southern West Bank between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

But Trump, surrounded by a team of advisers with close ties to the settler movement, has taken a different approach.

The Trump administration has come under fire over its decision previous year to approve more than $8.1 billion in emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries in response to the perceived threat posed by Iran.

But a controversial plan he unveiled in January gave United States blessing to Israeli annexation of large chunks of the West Bank, including the settlements, communities considered illegal under global law.

Palestinians run away from tear gas fired by Israeli forces during a protest against Jewish settlements, in Asira al-Qibliya in the Israeli-occupied West Bank September 25, 2020. The UAE has said it made this demand to keep Palestinian hopes alive.

"The expansion of settlements violates global law and further imperils the viability of a two-state solution to bring about a just and lasting peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict", it said.

Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said the Israeli move exploited the warming relations in the Gulf and "blind support from the Trump administration".

Voicing their "deep concern" at the move was the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, as the five biggest European economies accused Israel of breaking worldwide law and pursuing a "counterproductive" policy of building in a future Palestinian state so soon after having made progress with Gulf states.

With Gantz's participation, "Israel will be signalling to the world its bi-partisan support for the end to the concept of a two-state solution and a Palestinian state", it said. "Maybe that's why just two weeks before American elections he pushed toward this decision", he said.

It said around 2,000 more homes were expected to be approved on Thursday. Peace Now said numerous approved homes stretch deep into the West Bank.

Al-Quds daily reported on this as well as said in its editorial that the Palestinians expect more from the European Union than just statements of condemnation. One of those plans would build 560 homes in Har Gilo, a strategically placed settlement between the Palestinian city of Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

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