Seven western foreign ministers expressed their deep concern over the Israeli government’s announcement that it is advancing nearly 10,000 settlement units, and intends to begin a process to normalise nine outposts that were previously deemed illegal under Israeli law.
“We strongly oppose these unilateral actions which will only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution,” Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Italy, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, and the Secretary of State of the United States said in a statement on Wednesday.
On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet announced that it had taken a decision to legalise 9 settlements in the occupied West Bank out of 77, at the request of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir. And Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced on Tuesday that the Israeli government will remove all restrictions on settlement construction in the West Bank.
The western diplomats vowed to continue to support “a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East,” which must be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties.
The statement stressed that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace, with equal measures of freedom, security, and prosperity.
“We reaffirm our commitment to helping Israelis and Palestinians fulfil the vision of an Israel fully integrated into the Middle East living alongside a sovereign, viable Palestinian state,” according to the statement.
In a separate statement, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed his country’s deep concern about Israel’s decision. “We strongly oppose these unilateral measures, as do all previous US administrations, whether republican or democratic, because they exacerbate tensions and undermine the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution,” Blinken said in a statement.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his deep concern about the Israeli decision. The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, has also condemned the Israeli decision.
Egypt has also condemned with the strongest terms the decision of the Israeli government. Egypt also warned of the consequences of this decision, which will inflame the highly heated situation in the occupied territories, in a way that threatens the expansion of the scope and frequency of violence, and will have serious repercussions on the security and stability of the entire region.