The European Union and some European countries condemned Israel’s announcement to expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, in violation of international law.

“The European Union condemns the planned so-called legalization of five Israeli settlement outposts and the announcement of thousands of new housing units in the occupied West Bank,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement late Wednesday.

Also condemning Israel’s ongoing policies of dispossession in the West Bank, it added: “The ongoing efforts aiming at establishing facts on the ground and risking to lead to a de-facto annexation must stop.”

The statement also warned that Israel’s policy of building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories violates international law, worsens tensions, and damages efforts to achieve a two-state solution, and called on Israel to reverse those decisions.

“In line with its longstanding common position and U.N. Security Council Resolutions, the EU will not recognize changes to the 1967 borders unless agreed by the parties,” it stressed.

Also commenting on Israel’s move, Belgium’s International Development Minister Caroline Gennez said on X: “The new expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank is a flagrant violation of international law and undermines a two-state solution.”

She added: “The international community must apply pressure, using all possible legal manners, to stop these illegal expansions.”

Similarly, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter condemned Israel’s decision.

“I keep calling for sanctions against Israel,” she added on X.

Decision threatens ‘peace and security in the region’

Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide also condemned the decision and called on the Government of Israel to immediately reverse them.

He stressed: “Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, and they pose a significant threat to peace and security in the region.”

Norway condemns Israel’s decision to “legalize” five settlement outposts in occupied Palestinian territory, Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said on Thursday.

Barth Eide added that Norway found it “totally unacceptable” that Israel had also decided to advance the approval of another 6,016 housing units for settlements in the West Bank.

He said the decisions undermined efforts to establish peace in the region and demanded Israel reverse them.

“Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live their lives in peace and security, with freedom, dignity and equal rights. The two-state solution is the only viable solution,” Barth Eide said, referring to Norway’s earlier stance.

Israel’s Cabinet last week approved steps aimed at “legalizing” settlement outposts in the West Bank and imposing sanctions on the Palestinian Authority.

Israel’s official broadcasting authority KAN reported on Friday that the Security Cabinet approved Smotrich’s plan to counter Palestinian statehood recognition and other actions in international courts.

The plan includes measures against the Palestinian Authority, the legalization of five settlement outposts in the West Bank, and the issuance of tenders for thousands of new housing units in settlements.

Additionally, the plan involves revoking permits and benefits for Palestinian officials, restricting their movement, and preventing senior officials from leaving the country.

It also includes measures such as removing executive powers from the Palestinian Authority in the southern West Bank, enforcing laws against unauthorized construction, and protecting heritage sites and environmental areas.

Under international law, all Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal.

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