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European Union (EU)
15 October 2011
Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton
on settlement expansion in Givat Hamatos
Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, made today the following statement:
"I deplore the decision by the Israeli Authorities to advance the plan for the construction of 2600 new housing units in the settlement of Givat Hamatos and to legalize – under Israeli Law – houses in West Bank outposts. This is unacceptable. Both actions run against roadmap obligations. Settlements are illegal under international law. These decisions should be reversed.
The proposed constructions in Givat Hamatos are of particular concern as they would cut the geographic contiguity between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The EU has repeatedly called on Israel to end all settlement activity, including natural growth, and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001.
These initiatives run contrary to the current EU and Quartet efforts to bring about the resumption of peace negotiations and to Israel's stated commitment to this process. Both parties are responsible for the creation of an environment of trust conducive to negotiations."