Israel’s decision to seize hundreds of hectares of land near the eastern city of Ariha (Jericho) in the occupied West Bank is “a further step that risks undermining a future Palestinian state.”
The illegal land grab again “calls into question Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution.” So says a statement by the 28-member-state European Union, adding, “Any decision that could enable further settlement expansion, which is illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace, will only drive the parties to the conflict even further apart.”
The EU has publicly opposed Israel’s policy of demolitions, confiscations, evictions, forced transfers, and restrictions on movement and access. Britain stated Israel’s expansion plans are “an obstacle to peace,” while the Israeli organization Peace Now, which tracks the settlement policy, says the Israeli regime has clear plans to extend nearby settlements.
Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation began. The policy is seen as a major obstacle to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.