European ambassadors blast Israeli construction plans

Ambassadors from eight European countries meet Israel's Deputy National Security Adviser, denounce construction in Jerusalem and E1.

Ben Ariel ,

Jerusalem
Jerusalem
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Eight ambassadors from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom met on Thursday with Deputy National Security Adviser Reuven Azar in Jerusalem.

German Ambassador to Israel Susanne Wasum-Rainer tweeted following the meeting that she and her counterparts “stated their grave concerns about announcements of the Israeli authorities regarding new settlement units in the occupied West Bank & East-Jerusalem, particularly in E1 area, Givat HaMatos & Har Homa.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last Thursday announced new construction including 3,000 housing units in Jerusalem's Givat Hamatos and 2,200 housing units in the city's Har Homa neighborhood.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu announced new construction in the E1 area near Maaleh Adumim.

Both announcements were denounced by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which views the areas in question as part of a future Palestinian state.

The UN envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, condemned the construction on Wednesday, saying that “settlements are illegal under international law and remain a substantial obstacle to peace.”

Building in E1 has been a point of contention between Israel and the PA, and also between Israel and the West which objects to Israeli construction in the area, which the West calls “occupied territory”.

Israel approved construction in the E1 area in 2013, soon after the PA was recognized by the United Nations as a non-member observer state, in a unilateral move by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas in violation of the Oslo Accords.

Netanyahu faced international criticism after the government approved new construction in the area, and later directed the city of Jerusalem to postpone a meeting on the construction.



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