E.U.: New settlements threaten links with Israel

Oct 03, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
A Palestinian man works at a housing construction site on September 15, 2014 at the Jewish Settlement of Beitar Elit , West Bank.
Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

Brussels condemned plans to build new homes in East Jerusalem, echoing similar criticisms by the United States, Germany, and France. In a statement, the European bloc noted, "This represents a further highly detrimental step that undermines prospects for a two-state solution and calls into question Israel's commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.

RT News reports:

The Israeli government gave its final approval for the construction of 2,610 houses in Givat Hamatos, one of the most sensitive regions in East Jerusalem on Wednesday, moments before a crucial meeting between US president Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The British government had expressed its opposition to the move in September, but reiterated its statement on Friday, urging the country to reverse its decision. “The UK deplores the Israeli government’s decision to advance plans for 2,610 settlement units in Givat Hamatos,” said UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

However, there has been no indication of a concrete response. According to Reuters:

It did not say whether any action would be taken over its criticism. Israel is eligible for 14 million euros ($17.6 million) in EU funding over the next seven years, while the EU is Israel's biggest trading partner.