European nations slam Israel's plans to build new housing beyond Green Line
Germany, France and the U.K. condemn new
tenders published by Israel’s Housing Ministry for the construction of
more than 1,200 housing units in Jerusalem, West Bank.
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Governments of a number of European states came out on Wednesday against the tenders recently issued by Israel's Housing Ministry for the construction of new housing units across the Green Line in Jerusalem and in West Bank settlements.
Criticizing Israel's decision to go ahead with the construction of more
than 1,200 new homes, Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said
in a statement that Germany expects all sides in the Middle East
conflict "to refrain from anything that will make the resumption of
negotiations more difficult."
He said that Germany backs the European Union's position that Israel's settlement policy is "a hindrance to the peace process."
France also slammed the decision, according to a report by Israel Radio.
The comdemnations came after, earlier Wednesday, the British government also condemned the tenders. In a statement, Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, described the new tenders as "provocative."
Burt said that Britain "has been consistently clear that Israeli
settlements are illegal under international law and by altering the
situation on the ground."
Israel is "making the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared
capital, increasingly hard to realize. It is deeply disappointing that
the Government of Israel continues to ignore the appeals of the U.K. and
other friends of Israel,” he added.
The Housing and Construction Ministry issued tenders on Tuesday
for the construction of 1,285 housing units, 1,213 in the northern
Jerusalem neighborhoods of Pisgat Ze'ev and Ramot, located across the
1967 Green Line, and an additional 72 in the West Bank settlement of
The tenders are a part of the government's decision to continue housing
construction, both throughout Jerusalem and in West Bank settlement
blocs. While Israel considers East Jerusalem, annexed immediately
following the Six Day War in 1967, as part of its sovereign territory,
the international community does not recognize any part of Jerusalem
beyond the Green Line as a part of Israel.
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