EU slams Israel for building plans in East Jerusalem, West Bank

The EU is joining Washington and the United Nations in condemning recently announced Israeli plans for new building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, saying it “threatens the viability of the two-state solution.”

In a statement, the EU’s External Action Service, its version of a foreign ministry, says the move “calls into question Israel’s commitment to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians.”

“Despite repeated calls by the international community Israel is continuing its settlement policy, which is illegal under international law. The EU urges Israel to stop this policy and to reverse its recent decision,” the statement continues.

View of the Israeli settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, in the West Bank, February 25, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
View of the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, in the West Bank, February 25, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

On Sunday, Israel said it would push ahead with plans for some 560 new in Ma’ale Adumim, a West Bank settlement to the east of the capital, along with 240 homes in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and another 600 in an Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood.

The move came in response to the killing of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian while sleeping in her bed on Thursday, and to the shooting of Rabbi Miki Mark and the injuring of his family as they were driving near Hebron a day later.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday called the plans “the latest step in what seems to be the systematic process of land seizures settlement expansions and legalization of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.”

A day earlier a spokesman for UN head Ban Ki-moon said the secretary general was “deeply disappointed” by the announcement.

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