The European Union (EU) has called on Israel to halt the construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank, including those detailed in several recently-announced tenders.
Last Sunday (24 October), Israel announced a tender to build approximately 1,300 new homes across a number of settlements in the occupied West Bank, and another to build 83 additional units in the Givat HaMatos settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, or al-Quds as it is known in Arabic.
In a statement published on its website on Monday (25 October), the EU stressed that such settlements are illegal under international law, and noted that they “constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between the parties.”
“The European Union has consistently made clear that it will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by both sides”, the statement continued.
At the same time, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs released a statement saying that “France condemns the Israeli authorities’ announcement that several calls for bids would be issued for the construction of more than 1,300 housing units in West Bank settlements.”
And, the statement continued, “France calls for ending any unilateral measures jeopardizing the two-state solution based on internationally agreed parameters, the only way to arrive at a just and lasting peace in the region.”
The Palestinian Authority condemned Sunday’s announcement as “a violation of red lines.”
Data from Israeli NGOs indicates that there are currently approximately 666,000 Israeli settlers across 145 settlements and non-licensed 140 outposts in the occupied West Bank including al-Quds.
Michael Lynk, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, recently stated that “the Israeli settlements did amount to a war crime.”
“I tell you that this outcome obligates the international community (…) to make clear to Israel that its illegal occupation and defiance of international law and international opinion cannot continue without a price”, Lynk said in the same speech given earlier this year.
Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) has repeatedly called on the international community and decision-makers across the world to take concrete measures to stop the construction of settlements in the occupied territories, particularly in al-Quds.
In February this year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) declared its own jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, specifically over the Gaza Strip and the West Bank including al-Quds.
With a path to an investigation thereby cleared, on 3 March the same court announced the opening of an official investigation into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories.