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EU asks Israel to scrap settlement plan

The European Union has urged Israel to reverse its decision regarding building 1,300 new settlement units in occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

A statement released by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton’s office on Tuesday said she “is extremely concerned” by Israel’s announcement of the new construction plan.

The plan includes 1,025 settlement units in Har Homa and 320 in Ramot settlements in the illegally annexed East al-Quds, which the Palestinians have long been demanding as the capital of their future Palestinian state.

“This plan contradicts the efforts by the international community to resume direct negotiations and the decision should be reversed,” the statement read.

On Monday, the US also expressed “deep disappointment” with the announcement by Tel Aviv of plans to build more than a thousand new settlement units in “sensitive areas” of East al-Quds.

The US State Department described the move as “counterproductive” to Washington’s efforts to resume stalled direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel.

Launched on September 2 in Washington, the direct talks were soon derailed by Israel’s refusal to extend a partial, 10-month settlement freeze after it expired on September 26.

The Palestinians accuse Israel of efforts to Judaize East al-Quds — which holds some of the most revered Muslim holy sites — through relentless settlement construction and demolishing Palestinian and Muslim monuments and replacing them with Jewish ones.

The Palestinian side argues that Israel’s takeover of East al-Quds would effectively shake the feasibility of the establishment of a Palestinian state.

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