More international community members condemn Israel over plans to authorize construction of 900 new housing units at Gilo, a settlement built illegally on Palestinian land occupied in the 1967 war.
China criticized the Israeli government’s move to expand a Jewish neighborhood in the part of Jerusalem, Al-Quds, claimed by Palestinians, saying it poses new obstacles to the Middle East peace process.
"We urge the Israeli side to take concrete measures to restore Palestine-Israel mutual trust and create favorable conditions for the early resumption of talks between them," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday.
The remarks by China’s Foreign Ministry were also echoed by the Swiss government which called on Israel to stop construction of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.
"Switzerland is deeply concerned about the destruction of Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem near the old town and the planned eviction of Palestinian families," the Swiss Foreign Ministry said Thursday in a statement.
It added East Jerusalem, Al-Quds, is an integral part of the Palestinian territories and under international humanitarian law Israel must protect the local civilian population.
"There is no military necessity that could justify the destruction of these houses or the evictions of Palestinian families," the statement expounded.
The Brazilian government also added to a chorus of international demands that Israel stop settlement activity in the disputed part of Jerusalem, Al-Quds.
In a statement, the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Tel Aviv’s decision to expand Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory violates the UN Security Council’s resolutions on the issue and contradicts the Israeli obligations within the context of the "roadmap" towards the peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"It represents a blow to international efforts aimed at reviving the peace process in the region and is another obstacle to achieving the goal of establishing a future Palestinian state that is geographically cohesive and economically viable," the statement said.
The Brazilian government, meanwhile, called on the Israeli government to reverse the decision so as to "enlarge the political conditions necessary for the Israelis and Palestinians to resume negotiations."
Israel gave approval on Tuesday for the construction of hundreds of new housing units in illegally annexed East Jerusalem, Al-Quds, drawing more international criticism.
The United States and France have summoned the Israeli ambassadors to both Washington and Paris, in the past few days to express strong resentment over the issue of the Jewish settlement and reiterate that the decision was not compatible with efforts to find a lasting global solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Under the 2002 Roadmap for Peace plan brokered by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia, Israel has to ‘dismantle settlement outposts erected since 2001 and also freeze all settlement activities’.
There are currently 121 Israeli settlements and approximately 102 Israeli outposts built illegally on Palestinian land occupied by Israel in 1967. All of these settlements and outposts are illegal under international law and have been condemned by numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions.
These settlements and outposts are inhabited by a population of some 462,000 Israeli settlers. Some 191,000 Israelis are living in settlements around Jerusalem, Al-Quds, and a further 271,400 are further spread throughout the West Bank.