EU Tells Israel to 'Reverse' Construction Plans
The European Union (EU) on Thursday condemned Israeli announcements earlier in the day and on Wednesday night to build another 3,300 housing units in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.
The EU said it is "deeply disappointed" by the Israeli plans to build more Jewish homes in the Biblical heartland of Israel.
"We call on the Israeli authorities to reverse this decision and to direct all their efforts towards an early resumption of the peace talks," the EU said in a statement, according to AFP.
The EU statement added "we are deeply disappointed that the Israeli Land Administration has published new tenders for 1,466 housing units in settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. This move is unhelpful to peace efforts."
European diplomats told Walla! that by announcing the construction, Israel was "playing with fire," threatening that the construction "will cause international isolation and damage to Israel."
Plans to build 1,800 housing units in the ten separate communities in the region were unfrozen on Thursday, after tenders for roughly 1,500 new homes in the region were announced Wednesday night. The moves were part of Israel's response to the establishment of the unity government between Fatah and the terrorist organization Hamas on Monday.
The newly-unfrozen plans reportedly had been frozen by the government roughly three months ago, even though a building freeze was not an official part of the peace talks that fell apart just ahead of their April 29 deadline.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly admitted last week that he had submitted to US pressure and canceled the IDF Civil Administration's high planning council meetings, effectively freezing all building and development in the region.
The EU's condemnation followed that of US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, who criticized the Jewish construction on Thursday. The American condemnation was not enough for the Palestinian Authority (PA), which called on the US later on Thursday to take "serious steps" against Israel over the move.
For its part, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) vowed to appeal to the UN Security Council over the construction
It is worth noting that Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and areas in Jerusalem over the 1949 Armistice lines is made the more crucial due to the housing crisis Israel is facing, with housing prices shooting up by 8% over the 12 months concluding in October 2013.