G7 FMs slam Israel for expanding settlements, withholding PA tax revenues

ROME — Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven major democracies denounce Israel’s move to expand its settlements in the West Bank, saying it was “counterproductive to the cause of peace.”

Israel announced last month that it was going to legalize five outposts in the West Bank, establish three new settlements, and appropriate large swaths of state land where Palestinians seek to create an independent state.

The G7 — comprising the United States, Britain, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy — condemns the move and urges Israel to reverse its decision. “We reaffirm our commitment to lasting and sustainable peace… on the basis of the two-state solution,” the statement says.

The G7 foreign ministers also call on Israel to release all remaining withheld tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, saying maintaining economic stability in the West Bank is “critical for regional security.”

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