Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has urged Israel to put a stop to an enormous settlement expansion in the West Bank, amid plans for thousands of new homes.
It follows an announcement earlier this week by the Israeli Higher Planning Committee of the Civil Administration that the building of 2,304 new settlement housing units has been approved, just days after Israeli bulldozers razed ten Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.
“We urge Israel to halt its settlement expansion, which is contrary to international law and promotes the effective annexation of the West Bank,” said Raab, in his first criticism of Israel as foreign secretary in Boris Johnson’s cabinet.
The Israeli cabinet also approved construction permits for 715 Palestinian units in Area C, but the UK Government said “much more needs to be done to fulfil the needs of the estimated 300,000 Palestinians there”.
The UK is urging the Israel to improve mechanisms that allow Palestinians to build in Area C, and has expressed “serious concern” following the demolition of Palestinian property by Israeli authorities, including in Wadi al Hummus on 22 July.
Responding to Raab’s comments, anti-settlement group Yachad UK said: “The UK government is right to speak up against settlement expansion and the Israeli government’s de-facto annexation of large parts of the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank.
“Israel’s control of the West Bank and continuous settlement expansion is putting the country’s future at risk.
“All those who truly care for the future of the world’s only Jewish state must speak up against the occupation and campaign for a two-state solution.”
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