The EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has censured Israel for its recent decision to construct new homes in occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank.
"The High Representative is deeply concerned by the approval on 22 February by the Israeli Civil Administration of new construction in the settlements of Shvut Rachel and Shilo as well as the retrospective approval granted for housing units already built,” European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton announced in a statement on Wednesday.
“Settlements are illegal under international law. In addition the Quartet Roadmap states that Israel should not only freeze all settlement activity, but also dismantle those settlements erected since March 2001,” the statement adds.
“The High Representative calls on Israel to respect its obligations under the Roadmap,” the statement concluded.
The Quartet Roadmap is a plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proposed by the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations in 2003. The principles of the plan are based on an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel.
Israeli Ministry of Defense recently approved a plan to construct 600 new homes in Shilo inside the occupied West Bank.
Israeli anti-settlement group, Peace Now, said that the construction project is the biggest settlement plan in the occupied West Bank since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office in March 2009. It claimed that the approval also retroactively legitimized about 100 homes built without permits.
In a Wednesday statement, Robert H. Serry, a United Nations coordinator for Israeli-Palestinian talks, called the approval “deplorable.”
On February 6, Ban Ki-moon emphasized that the illegal Israeli “settlements and their infrastructure severely restrict access to land and natural resources by the Palestinian people.”
Nearly 500,000 Israelis live in more than 100 settlement units built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.