Hague, Ashton Condemn Israeli Expansion in Judea and Samaria (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari, Canada 06/09/12)
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British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned on Friday Israel´s
plans to build hundreds of new homes in Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and
Shomron), The Press Association reported.
In a statement issued by the Foreign Office in London Hague said, “I
condemn the announcement by Israel to authorize the building of 851
new settlement units across the West Bank.”
He added, “While we appreciate the Israeli government´s efforts to
avoid damaging legislation in the Israeli Knesset by voting against a
bill to legalize West Bank outposts, the decision to move settlers
from an illegal outpost by creating housing units in settlements
elsewhere across the Green Line sets a dangerous precedent.
“Such outposts are illegal under both Israeli and international law
and should be removed entirely,” said Hague.
“The British Government, and our EU partners, have made it
consistently clear that settlement construction is illegal under
international law, an obstacle to peace and should stop immediately,
in line with Israel´s own commitment under the 2003 road map,” he
“Continued systematic settlement activity, and repeated breaches by
the Israeli government of international law, is provocative,
undermines the prospects of peace between Israel and the
Palestinians, and makes the two-state solution ever harder to
realize. It makes it increasingly difficult for Israel´s
international friends to defend the Israeli government´s actions.”
Hague urged “the Israeli government to change its approach, to meet
its international obligations fully and for both sides to engage
constructively in the search for peace.”
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, also
condemned Israel, saying in a statement, “I deplore Israeli
Government plans to build over 800 additional settlement housing
units as well as the plan to relocate some of the settlers from
Ulpana within the occupied Palestinian territory.
“Settlements are illegal under international law and threaten to make
a two-state solution impossible. Settlement activity is detrimental
to current peace efforts, including by the Quartet, and puts those
efforts at risk,” she added.
“I call on the Israeli Government to exercise the highest sense of
responsibility by reversing these decisions to demonstrate its
commitment toward the peace process, in full respect of international
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced in a
special statement that the Beit El will be expanded and that 300 new
homes will be added to the community.
Housing Minister Ariel Atias later announced his ministry will market
land for the purpose of building 551 new housing units in Judea and
Samaria, in addition to the 300 homes in Beit El.
The United States condemned Israel for the construction, with U.S.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner saying, “We’re very clear that
continued Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank undermines
peace efforts and contradicts Israeli commitments and obligations,
including the 2003 road map”.
Toner told reporters, “Our position on settlements remains unchanged.
We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement
France also condemned the Netanyahu government´s decision. The French
Foreign Ministry said that said some of the planned construction
was "far inside the Palestinian side of the 1967 borders, which have
been agreed as a benchmark by the International community for
negotiations on a future delineation accord between Israelis and
Palestinians." (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 06/09/12)
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