The government of Spain released a statement on Friday joining the United States in condemning Israel’s recent approval of the construction of 181 new housing units in the illegal Gilo settlement in the occupied West Bank.
The approval was the latest in a long line of settlement approvals in recent months that would see more than a thousand new settler units constructed on occupied Palestinian land.
The statement reiterated Spain’s disapproval of Israel’s settlement expansions, and “like the rest of the international community, it considers Israeli settlements on Palestinian Occupied Territories to be illegal under international law.”
— Ma'an News Agency (@MaanNewsAgency) November 12, 2016
“The government also argues that these illegal settlements are an obstacle to the viability of a two-State solution, and accordingly, to peace, as set out in the report by the Middle East Quartet issued back in June,” the statement continued. The Spanish government also urged Israeli authorities to overturn their most recent settlement approvals.
After the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee approved the new settler housing units Wednesday, United States Department spokesperson John Kirby quickly condemned the decision that evening, reiterating the United States’ disapproval of Israel’s settlement expansions, saying that Israel’s actions “risk entrenching a one-state reality.”
At least 30,000 Israelis reside in the Gilo settlement in contravention to international law, while some 1,300 reside in Har Gilo. Israeli authorities had construction tenders for 89 units in Gilo, when tenders were also opened in Neve Yaakov, Pisgat Zeev, and Har Homa.
We condemn Israel's approval of illegal settlements in #Gilo. It further erodes 2S solution & calls into question Israel's commitment 2 it.
— MFA SLOVENIA (@MZZRS) November 9, 2016
The latest settlement approval in GIlo follows on the heels of a long line of Israeli settlement expansion plans. In October, the Israeli Civil Administration had advanced plans to construct a new Israeli settlement in the northern West Bank, likely to be used to relocate settlers residing in the Amona outpost following an Israeli Supreme Court decision to demolish the outpost by the end of this year.
(Ma’an, Social Media)