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UK 'seriously concerned' over illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published January 18,2021

The UK is "seriously concerned" over Israel's decision to construct more settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, a statement from Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said Monday.

Last Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has instructed to build 800 settlement units in the West Bank, and Israeli authorities approved the construction of 530 new settlement units in the occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday.

"The UK is seriously concerned by the Government of Israel's decision to approve the construction of 780 new settlement units across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including areas deep within the West Bank which could threaten future peace negotiations," the FCO said.

Describing the settlements "illegal under international law", the statement also said they "risk undermining the physical viability of the two state solution."

"We call for the construction of these in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank to cease immediately."

Encouraged by US President Donald Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century", Netanyahu announced in May that his government would formally annex the Jordan Valley and all settlement blocs in the West Bank.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is seen as occupied territory under international law, thus making all Jewish settlements there -- as well as the planned annexation -- illegal.

Much of the international community does not recognize Israel's sovereignty over the territories it has occupied since 1967.