France condemns Israeli PM’s plan to expand Beit El settlement
File photo shows the illegal Ulpana outpost adjacent to the Beit El Jewish settlement near the Palestinian West Bank city of Ramallah.
Thu Jun 7, 2012 2:7PM GMT
France has condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to expand Beit El Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank by adding 300 new houses.
“We call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to abstain from implementing these plans. We recall that colonization in all its forms is illegal under international law, undermines the two-state solution at ground level, and is an obstacle to peace,” France Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bernard Valero, said on Thursday.
Urging Netanyahu to drop the plan, the French official added that “…the most important thing is to avoid provocations and to renew dialogue between the [Israeli and Palestinian] parties.”
Netanyahu ordered the construction of 300 new residential units on Wednesday after the Israeli parliament rejected a bill to legalize settlement outposts.
All settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal under international law.
The outposts are also illegal under Israeli law and the regime has agreed to remove all or part of six illegal outposts following a Supreme Court ruling.
Last year, the court ruled that five buildings which are home to 30 families at Ulpana were built entirely on private Palestinian land.
Netanyahu ordered the transfer of the buildings at Ulpana to a nearby former army base in another part of Beit El and the construction next to them of 300 new housing units to placate settlers.
Israel continues its settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories despite condemnation from the international community.
Thousands of Israelis have been living in a dozen settlement neighborhoods since Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 1967.