EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini
EU foreign affairs chief Federica MogheriniREUTERS

The European Union on Monday condemned Israel’s plans to build more than 2,000 new homes in Judea and Samaria, urging the Jewish state to halt all “settlement activity” immediately.

Last month, Israel’s construction planning committee green-lighted more than 2,000 new housing units earmarked for Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.

On Monday, the EU denounced the plans for the new housing projects, calling them illegal under international law.

“In October 2019, Israeli authorities approved the advancement of well over 2,000 housing units in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank,” the EU said in a statement Monday afternoon.

“The European Union's position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace, as reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 2334.”

The EU’s statement also ripped Israel for its plans to build a bypass road, including a new tunnel, to allow Israeli drivers travelling on Route 60 – the primary north-south traffic artery in Judea and Samaria – to avoid the Palestinian Authority-controlled village of Al Aroub in the Gush Etzion region south of Jerusalem.

“Israeli authorities also approved a building permit for the construction of a new tunnel road, which bypasses Bethlehem to the west. The progressive construction of a separate road network, connecting settlements and outposts to each other and to the road network in Israel while circumventing Palestinian towns and communities, is entrenching the fragmentation of the West Bank. The EU calls on Israel to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.”

“The EU will continue to support a resumption of a meaningful process towards a negotiated two-state solution, the only realistic and viable way to fulfil the legitimate aspirations of both parties.”