OSLO/BRUSSELS, Wednesday, February 15, 2023 (WAFA) – Norway, Luxemburg, Denmark, and Finland have rejected in separate statements Israel’s legalization of settlement outposts and the construction of more settlements in the occupied West Bank, warning that this policy could increase tension on the ground.
“‘I condemn Israel’s decision to legalize nine settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank. I also strongly object to the plans to build thousands of new housing units within established settlements. The Israeli settlement policy on occupied land is in violation of international law and must be stopped,” said Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.
“I am deeply concerned about the scale of human suffering. People are living in a state of fear due to the frequent attacks and loss of life. It is important that the Israeli authorities take steps to avoid further escalation and revoke these decisions, which undermine the prospects of a two-state solution and will inevitably lead to more conflict. It is essential that the Israeli Government works proactively to ease tensions before the situation spirals out of control. Palestinian leaders, too, must do their part to calm the situation,” said Foreign Minister Huitfeldt.
Luxemburg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said in a tweet that he agrees with the joint statement of the United States, the United Kingdom France, Germany and Italy, regarding their opposition to Israel’s settlement policy, which will only increase tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated peace settlement and the two-state solution.
Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen also tweeted: “Denmark shares the deep concern over Israel’s latest settlement announcement which we strongly oppose. Risks to worsen tensions and clearly undermines efforts towards a two-state solution.”
Finland's Foreign Ministry said in a tweet, “We reject the Israeli government decisions to authorize illegal settler outposts and build further housing in the West Bank. These decisions further exacerbate the tense situation. Settlements are illegal under international humanitarian law. Changes to 1967 borders are unlawful unless agreed by both parties.”