Friday

3rd Feb 2023

Israeli settlement construction in East Jerusalem draws EU rebuke

Israel has announced the construction of some 700 apartments in East Jerusalem just a month after the Jewish state proclaimed a freeze on the building of new settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, drawing moderate criticism from the European Union.

On Monday (28 December), Israel's Construction and Housing Ministry opened tenders for the construction of 692 new flats in the neighbourhoods of Har Homa, Pisgat Zeev and Neve Yaakov - Arab land absorbed by Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • East Jerusalem: Construction of some 700 new flats have been given a green light, despite an announced freeze in settlement building (Photo: laika slips the lead)

"Settlements on occupied land are illegal under international law," the Swedish EU presidency said in a statement.

"The Presidency of the European Union urges Israel to reconsider these plans as it prevents the creation of an atmosphere conducive to resuming negotiations on a two-state solution."

In November, defence minister Ehud Barak issued a freeze order, aiming to jump-start peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, while at the same time permitting the construction of 28 new public buildings in the occupied territories. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu subsequently declared that settlement construction would resume at the end of a 10-month period.

Palestinian representatives also condemned Monday's move.

Nabil Abu Rudainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement: "Continuing the policy of settlements expansion is deliberate destruction of US and international efforts to achieve progress in the peace process."

"This policy affirms that the Israeli side is not serious in reaching a just and comprehensive permanent peace agreement based on the two-state solution."

For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the opportunity to argue that now is the time to restart peace negotiations between the two sides.

"The time for excuses is over. Now is the time for action," he said ahead of a meeting in Egypt with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak scheduled for Friday.

Opinion

Europe is giving more aid to Ukraine than you think

'Europeans need to pull their weight in Ukraine. They should pony up more funds.' Such has been the chorus since the start of the war. The problem is the argument isn't borne out by the facts, at least not anymore.

Column

Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?

Countries that were once democratising are now moving in the other direction — think of Turkey, Myanmar, Hungary or Tunisia. On the other hand, in autocracies mass mobilisation rarely succeeds in changing political institutions. Think of Belarus, Iran or Algeria.

Latest News

  1. MEPs launch anonymous drop-box for shady lobbying secrets
  2. Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'
  3. MEPs push for greater powers for workers' councils
  4. How Pavel won big as new Czech president — and why it matters
  5. French official to take on Islamophobia in EU
  6. EU green industry plan could spark 'dangerous subsidy race'
  7. Wolves should be defended, EU ministers urge
  8. EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us