UK: Jerusalem construction ‘undermines future Palestinian state’

Britain has condemned Israel’s announcement of new construction in the Givat Hamatos and Har Homa neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

“The UK condemns Israel’s announcement to move forward with the construction of 1,077 housing units in Givat Hamatos, in southern Jerusalem. This follows the announcement on 20 February to advance 2,200 units in the existing settlement of Har Homa,” said James Cleverly, the UK Minister for the Middle East and North Africa in a statement.

“Settlement construction in these highly sensitive areas undermines the viability of a future Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem. The UK’s position on Israeli settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law and damaging to renewed efforts to launch peace negotiations. We urge Israel to reverse this decision immediately,” he added.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made the announcement on the new construction last 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.

On Friday, France and Germany both condemned the new construction.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, issued a similar condemnation on Saturday, warning that “[s]uch steps would be deeply detrimental to a two-state-solution.”

The PA blasted Netanyahu’s announcement as well. 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.”

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