Israel/Palestine (Sputnik) – The United Kingdom is deeply concerned over reports of Jerusalem receiving plans for some 500 new “illegal” housing units in a settlement in East Jerusalem, UK Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood said Monday.
Last week, media reports emerged claiming that Jerusalem’s municipality had proposed construction of 500 housing units in Ramat Shlomo, an area annexed by Israel.
“We are deeply concerned by reports that the Jerusalem Municipality has revived a plan for constructing 500 new units in the illegal settlement of Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem,” Ellwood said in a statement.
According to Ellwood, the expansion of the Ramat Shlomo settlement includes construction on privately owned Palestinian land.
“It is disappointing that Israel has proceeded with this plan despite serious international criticism when these plans were announced in 2014. Israel’s policy of continuing to expand settlements is illegal under international law and systematically undermines the prospects for a two-state solution,” the minister said, as quoted by the UK Foreign Office.
The initial plan of expanding the Ramat Shmolo settlement was proposed in 2014 but was canceled amid international pressure. The plan was revived by East Jerusalem’s administration on November 20, 2016.
Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity, and builds settlements on the occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.
This report prepared by Sputnik