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EU denounces publication by Israel of tenders for construction of housing units in Israeli settlements


The European Union has denounced the publication by Israel of tenders for the construction of more than 1,300 housing units in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and additional 83 units in Givat Hamatos in East Jerusalem, writes Yossi Lempkowicz.

“We call upon the government of Israel to halt settlement construction and to not proceed with the announced tenders”, an EU spokesperson for the EU’s External Service said in a statement.

"Settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between the parties," he said.

He added that "the European Union has consistently made clear that it will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by both sides".

The Israel Land Authority issued the tenders on Sunday at the direction of Israeli Housing and Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin and contrary to calls from Washington,

Among the tenders are 346 housing units in Beit El, 42 units in Elkana and another 50 units at a reduced price. In Beitar Illit, 252 housing units will be built.

The construction of 3,144 housing units in Judea and Samaria will be approved today (27 October). The Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration will also approve, among other things, the outline plan of Mitzpe Dani in the area of Ma’ale Mikhmas in the Benjamin region.

At the same time, the construction of more than a thousand housing units for Palestinians in Area C will be approved, but the construction plan for Khirbet Beit Zakariyyah in Gush Etzion will not be approved.

This is the first time in the current government’s tenure that construction plans have been greenlighted in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). The Supreme Planning Council was supposed to convene several months ago and approve a little more than 2,000 housing units, but was prevented from doing so by a strike of Civil Administration employees.