EU to Israel: Jewish Housing Units in Southern Jerusalem Undermine Two-State Solution

Jonathan Benedek/TPS – The European Union on Tuesday condemned Israel’s planned construction of more than 700 Jewish homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.

“Israel’s recent decision to advance plans for some 770 housing units in the settlement of Gilo, built on occupied Palestinian land in East Jerusalem, undermines the viability of a two-state solution,” said a spokesperson for the European Union’s External Action Service (EEAS).

The neighborhood of Gilo, which is actually in southern Jerusalem, is one of many communities that are located in territories gained by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967, such as French Hill near Mount Scopus and the Old City. Approximately 200,000 Israelis live in such neighborhoods in Israel’s capital.

“It contributes to the establishment of a ring of Israeli settlements around the city, thus further cutting East Jerusalem off from the southern West Bank,” the spokesperson continued.

At the same time, the European Union has been increasing funding for the illegal construction of Palestinian units in areas throughout Yehudah and Shomron that remain under Israeli jurisdiction.

The EEAS spokesman also said that in light of statements by Israeli officials, like Education Minister Naftali Bennett, expressing opposition to a Palestinian state, Israel’s decision to build the new Jewish housing units raises doubts about Israel’s long-term goals vis-a-vis the Palestinians.

“The decision raises legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions, which are compounded by the statements of some Israeli ministers that there should never be a Palestinian state,” the spokesperson added. “The EU calls on Israel to reverse this decision and to cease its settlement activity.”

At the same time, the European Union has been increasing funding for the illegal construction of Palestinian units in areas throughout Yehudah and Shomron that remain under Israeli jurisdiction.

Just a few weeks ago, Education Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett had accused the EU and others in the international community of attempting to cut off Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem from one another, at the annual conference of the Yesha Council, which represents the Jewish communities of Yehudah and Shomron.

“The goal of the world and the Palestinians is to create Palestinian territorial continuity,” charged Bennett. “We are opposed to such a goal. We want continuity between Talpiot and Gilo and to preserve the unity of Jerusalem.”

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