US, EU Condemn ‘Illegal’ Building in Jerusalem

May 10, 2015  

The European Union on Saturday criticized Israeli plans to build 900 homes for Jews in Jerusalem, AFP reports Saturday. 

Extreme leftist group Peace Now reported the latest batch of construction approvals on Thursday, just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu formed a new rightwing-religious coalition government.

“Israel’s determination to continue its settlement policy despite the urging of the international community not only threatens the viability of the two state solution but also seriously calls into question its commitment to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians,” the EU said in a statement.

“Settlements are illegal under international law,” it claimed, ignoring once again the 2012 Levy Report, which conclusively proved that Israel’s presence over 1949 Armistice Lines is legal according to international law.

The EU is a major provider of funds for the Palestinian authorities. 

The bloc has also threatened Israel multiple times to further its agenda in the Middle East, dangling unprecedented aid packages to both Jerusalem and Ramallah if a two-state solution is implemented. 

Despite this, it has denied threatening Israel – or promoting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement – on multiple occasions. 

US: Development ‘Disappointing’ 

The new homes will be built in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo following a decision late Wednesday by the city’s district
planning committee, Peace Now spokeswoman Hagit Ofran told AFP.

In a briefing Thursday at the US State Department, spokesman Jeff Rathke called the decision “disappointing” and “damaging”.

“This is a disappointing development, and we’re concerned about it just as a new Israeli government has been announced,” he said. “Moving forward with construction of housing units in east Jerusalem is damaging.”

“We continue to engage with the highest levels of the Israeli Government, and we continue to make our position clear that we view this as illegitimate,” Rathke said.

The move follows several rumblings over the state of US-Israel relations, which crumbled in March after the White House, and US President Barack Obama in particular, gave Netanyahu an icy reception after the latter’s victory in the elections. 

Among the “unprecedented” hostility being expressed at Israel from Washington, the State Department bluntly said at the time that Israel’s so-called “occupation of Palestinian land” must end.

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