London, 03 June 2018 – The United Kingdom Monday slammed Israel’s plans to construct hundreds of new illegal settlement units in East Jerusalem.
“The UK Government is gravely concerned by plans announced on 30 May to advance tenders for hundreds of settlement housing units in occupied East Jerusalem,” stated UK Minister for the Middle East Andrew Murrison.
“We are clear that settlements built on occupied Palestinian territory are contrary to international law and an obstacle to a two-state solution. Regrettably, this takes us further away from a negotiated peace agreement,” the statement added.
Murrison noted that he visited Jerusalem on 28-30 May where he reiterated UK support for a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital for both states.
On Thursday 30 May, the Israel Land Authority announced plans to advance tenders for 556 housing units in East Jerusalem.
Over the last two decades, Israeli Jewish-only settlements have expanded rapidly across the West Bank and East Jerusalem and have severely constrained the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state.
The Israeli government provides more than 500,000 settlers with roads, electricity, water, and sewage systems that remain inaccessible to many neighboring Palestinians.
While the international community has been vocal in its condemnation of Israeli settlement activity, it has taken few steps to pressure Israel into ceasing the enterprise.