France blasts latest Israeli construction

France accuses Israel of colonization following approval of new construction in Judea and Samaria.

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Elad Benari,

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France on Thursday condemned Israel's approval this week of new homes in Judea and Samaria.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration approved marketing for 300 housing units in Beit El, a promise Netanyahu made to residents five years ago.

The approval of construction in Beit El came a day after the Civil Administration issued 31 building permits for a planned housing project in Hevron, the first permits for new Israeli construction in the ancient city in decades.

"France calls on the Israeli authorities to reverse this decision and to respect their international obligations," read a statement by the French foreign ministry quoted by the Turkish Anadolu news agency.

"The uninterrupted pursuit of the policy of colonization, confirmed by these new projects, only adds to the tensions on the ground and undermines the prospects for a just and lasting peace based on the two-state solution," it added.

"Colonization, as recalled in UN Security Council Resolution 2334, is illegal under international law,” said the statement, which warned that “settlement plans” had reached an unprecedented level since the beginning of the year, sending “a very negative signal which can only undermine the confidence required between parties”.

On Wednesday, the European Union (EU) condemned the construction announcement, stating that the new housing units would "severely jeopardize the contiguity and viability of a future Palestinian state."

"The European Union has requested clarifications from Israeli authorities and conveyed the expectation that they reconsider these decisions, which are detrimental to ongoing efforts towards meaningful peace talks," the EU said in a statement.

The White House, for its part, issued a statement in which it did not condemn Israel, but also said that construction does not advance peace.

“President Trump has publicly and privately expressed his concerns regarding settlements and the Administration has made clear that unrestrained settlement activity does not advance the prospect for peace,” the statement said.

“At the same time the Administration recognizes that past demands for a settlement freeze have not helped advance peace talks.”








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