EU slams Israel settlement expansion

PressTV – Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:21PM GMT

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
The European Union has criticized Israel for its illegal expansion of settlement units in the occupied Palestinian territories.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday that Israel’s plan to build 1,100 new illegal housing units in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) “undermines the talks with Palestinians and should be reversed,” AP reported.

Ashton also expressed “deep regret” over the ongoing settlement expansion activities.

Israel authorized a plan for construction of 1,100 illegal units in the Gilo neighborhood of East al-Quds (Jerusalem) on Tuesday. Israeli officials said the plan is one of the phases of a multi-year process for the expansion of the Gilo neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat described the recent plan as “1,100 No’s” to the resumption of Israel-Palestine talks.

Victoria Nuland, the spokesperson for the US State Department, also expressed “deep disappointment” about the Israeli decision.

In September 2010, Israel resumed the expansion of illegal settlements in Palestine after a 10-month partial freeze, prompting the Palestinian Authority (PA) to break off the US-sponsored talks with the Tel Aviv regime that had been resumed after a lengthy stalemate.

Acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that new talks with the Israeli regime would not be resumed unless there is a complete halt in settlement expansion activities.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out a freeze on the illegal process on Monday, saying there was “no need for another moratorium on settlement construction.”

HSN/PKH/HGH

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