The Governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK issued this statement on Israeli settlements on May 6.
We urge the Government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance the construction of 540 settlement units in the Har Homa E area of the occupied West Bank, and to cease its policy of settlement expansion across the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Settlements are illegal under international law, and threaten prospects for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
If implemented, the decision to advance settlements in Har Homa, between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, will cause further damage to the prospects for a viable Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian State. This move, alongside settlement advancement in Givat HaMatos and continued evictions in East Jerusalem, including in Sheikh Jarrah, also undermines efforts to rebuild trust between the parties, following the positive resumption of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation.
We call on both sides to refrain from any unilateral action and resume a credible and meaningful dialogue, to advance efforts for the two state solution and an end to the conflict.
The Balfour Project welcomes this joint UK-European partners’ statement, reflecting the increasingly dangerous confrontations in and around East Jerusalem, the desperate situation of the Palestinians of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the threat to civilian lives, Palestinian and Israeli. The evictions of Palestinians from their homes in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah are an outrage. However, we remain of the view that words are not enough. The UK and its other European partners must hold Israel responsible for these continued violations of international law and make clear that there will be consequences to change the risk/benefit calculation of Israel’s leaders. They must be made to realise that no state is above the law.