The European Union has deplored the Israeli regime’s plans for the construction of nearly 4,500 new illegal settler units in the occupied West Bank, calling on Tel Aviv to reverse the decision.
The remarks were delivered by Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations on behalf of current and former European Union Members of the Security Council, France, Ireland, and Estonia, joined by Albania, at a UN Security Council session in New York on Thursday.
The joint statement stressed that the illegal settler units “would constitute an additional obstacle to the [so-called] two-state solution,” and “are in clear violation of international law and stand in the way of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace” between the two sides.
The statement further said the decision, in addition to the retroactive approval of three illegal outposts and demolitions and evictions that affect the Palestinian populations in East Jerusalem (al-Quds] and Area C, directly threatens the possibility of a future Palestinian state.”
The EU members called upon Israeli authorities “not to proceed with any planned demolitions or evictions, particularly in the Masafer Yatta area” which they said could result in the forced eviction of more than 1,200 Palestinian civilians.
The statement further called for “a thorough and independent investigation” to clarify all the aspects of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing while covering an Israeli military raid in Jenin, and to bring those responsible for her murder to justice.
“We are deeply shocked by the violence perpetrated by the Israeli police toward mourners in her funeral,” the statement read.
The EU members renewed the call for respecting the status quo at the holy places in al-Quds, stressing the importance of Jordan’s guardianship and specific role in this regard.
“The deteriorating situation again highlights the need to restore a political horizon for a credible and viable peace process,” the statement noted further.
US envoy, lawmakers warn Israel against ousting Palestinians from Masafer Yatta
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield and 83 Democratic lawmakers from both houses of the Congress have expressed alarm over Israeli plans to evict around 1,300 Palestinians from the Masafer Yatta area in the southern part of the West Bank to make way for a military training zone.
Thomas-Greenfield raised the issue during a UN Security Council session on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Thursday, while 20 senators and 63 representatives penned a letter to the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to intervene as US President Joe Biden prepares to visit the occupied territories next month.
“It is important to refrain from unilateral actions that exacerbate tensions and jeopardize a [so-called] two-state solution. This includes the situation in Masafer Yatta and other evictions, which we continue to monitor closely and voice our concerns about,” Thomas-Greenfield told the Security Council.
The Democratic lawmakers, led by Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Melanie Stansbury, wrote in their letter to Blinken that “such evictions undermine our shared democratic values, imperil Israel’s security, and disregard Palestinian human and civil rights.”
“We respectfully request that you immediately engage with Israel to prevent these evictions and further military training exercises in the area,” the lawmakers added.
They said Israel should approve master plans for the villages in Masafer Yatta so that the residents can maintain their homes.
Between 600,000 and 750,000 Israelis occupy over 250 illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East al-Quds as its capital.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014, with Israel’s continued settlement expansion emerging as a key sticking point.
All Israeli settlements are deemed illegal under international law as they are built on the occupied land.
The UN Security Council has time and again condemned the occupying regime’s diabolic settler-colonialism project in its umpteen resolutions.
Source: Agencies (editted by Al-Manar English Website)