Europe blasts Israeli construction

Britain, France and Germany condemn Israel's approval of new community for Amona residents, say it undermines peace.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Britain, France and Germany on Friday all condemned Israel over the approval of a new community in Judea and Samaria for the former residents of Amona who were evicted from their homes.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a statement that the construction “undermines” the two-state solution.

“The UK strongly condemns the Israeli government’s decision to found a new settlement deep in the West Bank; the first such government decision for over 25 years. I am also disappointed that Israel plans to expropriate additional West Bank territory as ‘state land’, and press forward with plans for almost 2,000 housing units in spite of significant international concern,” he said.

“These announcements are contrary to international law and seriously undermine the prospects of two states for two peoples. As a strong friend of Israel, and one prepared to stand up for Israel when it faces bias and unreasonable criticism, I urge Israel not to take steps such as these, which move us away from our shared goal of peace and security and make it harder to achieve a different relationship between Israel and the Arab world,” added Johnson.

Similarly, the French Foreign Ministry also condemned the Israeli announcement, saying such decisions "threaten peace and may exacerbate tensions on the ground.”

"France recalls that colonization is illegal under international law, in particular UNSCR 2334. It calls on Israel to respect its international obligations,” added the statement.

The German Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said the Israeli decision undermines Germany's faith in Israel's wish to reach a two-state solution.

"The federal government expects the Israeli government to clarify which solution they are pursuing for a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Germany will not recognize any change in the 1967 lines, which has not been agreed between the parties."

The United States, meanwhile, refrained from criticizing the new town due to the fact that it was promised to the residents of Amona by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu before President Donald Trump clarified his views on the issue.

At the same time, Washington warned Israel against "unrestrained" building in Judea and Samaria.

"Going forward... the Israeli government has made clear that Israel's intent is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes President Trump's concerns into consideration," a U.S. official said.

Earlier on Friday, a spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres expressed "disappointment and alarm" at the Israeli announcement.

"The secretary general has consistently stressed that there is no Plan B for Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace and security. He condemns all unilateral actions that, like the present one, threaten peace and undermine the two-state solution," the spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement.

Senior Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat blasted the move as well, saying Israel "continues to destroy the prospects of peace."

"Peace is not going to be achieved by tolerating such crimes," he said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)