The European Union on Monday called on Israel to cancel tenders, issued the day before, for the construction of some 1,000 new housing units in Judea and Samaria.

“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,” said a European Commission spokesman in a statement, according to Reuters.

Among the tenders issued by the Israel Lands Authority were for 346 housing units in Beit El, 42 units in Elkana and 252 units in Beitar Illit. The construction of 3,144 additional units in Judea and Samaria is expected to be approved on Wednesday.

The government simultaneously approved the construction of more than 1,000 housing units for Palestinians living in “Area C” of Judea and Samaria.

“The European Union has consistently made clear that it will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by both sides,” the statement said.

The tenders were issued at the direction of Israeli Housing and Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin, despite U.S. pressure. On Friday, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States was “concerned” about the construction plans and called on both sides to “refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tension and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution.”

The tenders marked the first time in the current government’s tenure that construction plans for Judea and Samaria have been authorized.

JNS

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