EU warns Israel's Netanyahu not to undermine peace prospects
The EU spokesperson on Wednesday stated that the policy of settlement construction and expansion, including in East Jerusalem, was illegal under international law. This would undermine the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace, the senior EU official added.
The EU warned Wednesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pledge to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if he wins next week's election undermines chances for peace in the region.
Netanyahu's vow was roundly condemned by the Palestinians as well as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, and the EU said it would not recognize any change to Israel's borders that was not agreed by both sides.
"The policy of settlement construction and expansion... is illegal under international law and its continuation, and actions taken in this context, undermine the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace," an EU spokesperson said in a statement.
"As reaffirmed in numerous Foreign Affairs Council conclusions, the EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties," the EU official added.
The remarks came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged that if he wins general elections slated for Sept. 17, he would annex parts of occupied lands in the West Bank including north of the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley.
In a televised speech, Netanyahu also reiterated his intention to annex Israeli settlements in the wider West Bank if re-elected.
Those moves could effectively kill any remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, long the focus of international diplomacy.
Some 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live in more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The Palestinians see these territories -- along with the Gaza Strip -- as integral for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.
International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal.