BRUSSELS, December 11, 2012 (WAFA) – The European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council strongly criticized Monday the Israeli E1 settlement plan in and around occupied East Jerusalem and said that if carried out it will undermine prospects of a viable Palestinian state.
Israel said that it plans to build thousands of housing units in what is known as E1 plan, raising concern that the project would divide the West Bank in half.
The Council said in a statement issued after a meeting in Brussels that it was “deeply dismayed by and strongly opposes Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and in particular plans to develop the E1 area.”
It said the E1 plan, if implemented, “would seriously undermine the prospects of a negotiated resolution of the conflict by jeopardizing the possibility of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state and of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states”
It warned that the E1 plan could also entail forced transfer of civilian population.
“In the light of its core objective of achieving the two-state solution, the EU will closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and act accordingly,” said the statement, reiterating “that settlements are illegal under international law and constitute an obstacle to peace” and that “it will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.”
The Council also called on Palestinians and Israelis “to avoid acts which undermine confidence and the viability of a two-state solution.”
It called on Israel to avoid any step undermining the financial situation of the Palestinian Authority. “Any such action by Israel would undermine existing cooperation mechanisms between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and thus negatively affect the prospects of negotiations,” it said.
The European Union called on the Palestinians and Israelis “to take bold and concrete steps towards peace.”
It said “the parties must engage in direct and substantial negotiations without pre-conditions in order to achieve a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ending all claims.”
Source: WAFA News