UK condemns Israel green-lighting some 1,100 new settlement homes
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UK condemns Israel green-lighting some 1,100 new settlement homes

London says move undermines two-state solution; Civil Administration committee approves 352 of the units for construction

Illustrative image of a new neighborhood in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the West Bank, on January 26, 2017. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Illustrative image of a new neighborhood in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the West Bank, on January 26, 2017. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The United Kingdom on Thursday condemned Israel for authorizing plans for more than 1,100 new Israeli homes in the West Bank.

In a statement on the UK Foreign Office website, Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt said, “The UK strongly condemns the advancement by the Israeli authorities of plans and tenders for settlement units across the West Bank.”

He asked Israel to rescind the approval, saying the move undermines the possibility of a two-state solution.

“We call on Israel to reconsider these proposals. Settlements are illegal under international law and undermine the physical viability of the two-state solution,” the statement said.

Alistair Burt in Jerusalem, January 2012 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Of the 1,126 homes green-lighted by the Defense Ministry on Wednesday, 352 of them gained final approval for construction, while the other 774 were advanced through an earlier planning stage known as a “deposit.”

Wednesday’s approvals marked a considerable decrease from the last time the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee last met in October. Then, it advanced 2,646 Israeli housing units with 1,323 earning final approval for construction.

Under unofficial settlement guidelines coordinated with the White House when US President Donald Trump took office, Israel agreed that the Civil Administration committee would meet once every three months instead of once a month. In addition, Israel was told it could add an unlimited number of housing units to any settlement in the West Bank as long as it does not dramatically expand the community’s existing “footprint.”

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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