The European Union Tuesday warned that Israel's announcements that it will build thousands of new settler homes in occupied Palestinian territory "further seriously undermines" prospects for a two-state solution. The twin announcements "further seriously undermine the prospects for a viable two-state solution," the EU's foreign policy arm said in a statement.
Settlements in both the West Bank and east Jerusalem are viewed as illegal under international law and major stumbling blocks to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians want for their own state.
"It is regrettable that Israel is proceeding with this policy, despite the continuous serious international concern and objections, which have been constantly raised at all levels," the external action service's spokesperson said. "Continued settlement expansion... goes directly against long-standing EU policy and the recommendations of the quartet Report," it said.
The EU is part of the quartet supporting diplomatic efforts for Palestinian-Israeli peace, along with the United States, the United Nations and Russia. "A negotiated two-state solution is the only way to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of both parties and to achieve enduring peace," the EU statement said.
U.N. Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday in New York that "Israel's unilateral actions that hamper peace are worrying."
Dujarric also said new U.N. chief Antonio Guterres is worried about Israel's decision, adding that "the Secretary-General does not have a plan B other than a two-state solution."
The Arab League on Tuesday denounced Israel's illegal settlements in Jerusalem as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the construction of 2,500 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank.
The construction on Palestinian territory "is seen as a serious ongoing violation of international law and a clear challenge to the will of the international community," 20 of the league's member states said in a statement.
The Arab League wants the U.N. Security Council to prevent the settlements it said threatens peace, security, the seriousness of the international community and the effectiveness of U.N. decisions.
The statement said approval for the project is the response to a Security Council vote last month that demanded Israel "immediately and completely" stop all illegal settlement activities on occupied Palestinian territories.
Turkey strongly condemned the decision and urged an immediate halt to "illegal settlements" on Palestinian soil.
"We call on Israel to quit insisting on pursuing this problematic approach that destroys the vision for the two-state solution by disregarding international law and human rights," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. COMPILED FROM WIRES
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