Israel settlement plans draw international condemnation

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 Israeli plans to advance the building of thousands of settlement units in the occupied West Bank drew global condemnation with Gulf Cooperation Council chief leading the charge. — Courtesy photo
Israeli plans to advance the building of thousands of settlement units in the occupied West Bank drew global condemnation with Gulf Cooperation Council chief leading the charge. — Courtesy photo

JERUSALEM — Israeli plans to advance the building of thousands of settlement units in the occupied West Bank drew global condemnation with Gulf Cooperation Council chief leading the charge.

In a statement on Thursday, GCC Secretary-General Nayef Al-Hajraf on Thursday deplored the Israeli action and called for an immediate halt to the settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The GCC chief said that building settlements is a big obstacle to efforts to restore peace in the Middle East.

Al-Hajraf emphasized GCC's support to the Palestinian people and their legitimate right to establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital in line with the Arab peace initiative.

Also on Thursday, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit condemned the Israeli settlement plans in a statement, saying that it "will destroy the two-state solution."

The Arab League chief said that the resumption of the settlement works contradicts the claims of the current Israeli government of seeking to promote peace and security in the region.

The chairman of the pan-Arab body has called on the international community to bear its responsibilities against the attempts of the Israeli side to build more settler homes.

On Friday, the European countries warned the building settlements perpetuates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further threatens the viability of a two-state solution.

"We are deeply concerned by the decision taken by the Israeli authorities to advance more than 4,900 settlement building units in the occupied West Bank," said a joint statement by foreign ministry spokespersons of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

"It is also a counterproductive move in light of the positive developments of normalization agreements reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain," it added, referring to the recent historic agreements between Israel and the two Gulf Arab countries.

Meanwhile, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi called for international pressure on Israel to stop the building of new settlements.

On Thursday, the top diplomat of the European Union also condemned the latest Israeli decision.

"Settlements are illegal under international law. As stated consistently, the EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties," the bloc's foreign relations chief Josep Borrell said. — Agencies


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