France and Germany both condemned Israel on Friday following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s announcement of new construction in Jerusalem.
“We are deeply concerned about the Israeli announcement to build 5,000 housing units in Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. This would further separate occupied East Jerusalem from the West Bank and undermine possibility of a Palestinian state,” the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We are once again calling on the Israeli government to abandon plans to build residential units in Har Homa and Givat Hamatos in occupied East Jerusalem and to stop the construction of settlements in the occupied territories that violate international law,” it added.
The French Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement, writing, “France condemns the announcements regarding the construction of several thousand housing units in the settlements of Har Homa and Givat Hamatos, in East Jerusalem. The expansion of these two settlements directly undermines the viability of a future Palestinian state, as the European Union has reiterated on several occasions.”
“All forms of settlement activity are illegal under international law and challenge the two-state solution on the ground. France urges the Israeli authorities to reconsider these decisions and to refrain from any unilateral measures,” it said.
“It reaffirms that the two-state solution, with both states living in peace and security within secure, recognized borders and with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region. It stands ready to support any effort in this direction based on agreed international parameters and coming about through negotiations between the parties,” concluded the statement.
Netanyahu made the announcement on Thursday together with Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion. The construction approved includes 3,000 housing units in Jerusalem's Givat Hamatos and 2,200 housing units in the city's Har Homa neighborhood.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) blasted Netanyahu’s announcement. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said that “Netanyahu’s insistence to build thousands of new settler units on the territories of the Palestinian state is a systematic destruction of the two-state solution.”
Abu Rudeineh urged the international community to immediately intervene to stop Israel’s “madness aimed to impose the policy of fait accompli.”
(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.)