13 European Countries Call On Israel To Halt Its New Settlement Project

A group of 12 European countries collectively called on the Israeli authorities on October 28, 2021, to halt its plan of constructing 3,000 settler homes in the West Bank. The United Kingdom, in particular, has issued a separate statement urging the occupying forces to scrap plans for fresh settlement construction.

Just a day after the U.S. criticized the Israeli settlement plan, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, and Finland called on the Israeli authorities to halt its provocative policy in the Occupied Territories, particularly the settlement one.

“We strongly oppose the expansion of settlements, which is completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm, in addition to damaging the prospects for a two-state solution,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington.

The Civil administration’s high planning committee gave final approval to the construction of around 1,800 homes, a spokesman for the military body that oversees civilian matters in the Palestinian territories reveals.

“We urge the Government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance plans for the construction of around 3,000 settlement units in the West Bank,” the foreign ministries of the 12 said.

“We reiterate our strong opposition to its policy of settlement expansion across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which violates international law and undermines efforts for the two-state solution,” they said.

This development came amid international outrage over the latest Israeli announcement of listing 6 Palestinian organizations as terrorist groups.

The decision appalled a number of Palestinian activists who perceived it as a blow to the Palestinian cause. Activists say the decision aims entirely to silence human rights organizations. The move, in addition, would legitimize Israel’s crackdown on similar organizations.

The occupying forces, on the other hand, say these groups were a front for a small PLO faction with a violent history, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“The terrorism label would allow Israel to raid the groups’ offices, seize assets, arrest employees and criminalize funding and expressions of support,” Egypt Independent reveals.

The six groups have denounced the Israeli decision, saying it’s a blatant attempt to squash reporting on human rights abuses committed by the occupying forces against innocent Palestinians.

“We hope that the International community will put enough pressure on Israel so that it will back down,” Ubai Aboudi, head of the Bisan Center for Research and Development, one of the targeted groups, said Saturday. Aboudi said he was previously charged by Israel with being a PFLP member, but denied ever belonging to the group.

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