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US, European nations ‘deeply troubled’ by Israeli housing plans

“We strongly oppose these unilateral actions which will only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians,” said France, Germany, Italy, the U.K. and U.S. in a joint statement.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Israel, Jan. 30, 2023. Credit: David Azagury/U.S. Embassy in Israel.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Israel, Jan. 30, 2023. Credit: David Azagury/U.S. Embassy in Israel.

In a joint announcement Tuesday, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Italy, the British foreign secretary and the U.S. secretary of state stated that they are “deeply troubled” by Israel’s decision to advance “nearly 10,000 settlement units” and its intention “to begin a process to normalize nine outposts that were previously deemed illegal under Israeli law.

“We strongly oppose these unilateral actions which will only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution,” they added.

The statement closely mirrored one that the U.S. State Department put out independently yesterday. Foggy Bottom’s announcement claimed its position was in line with prior Democrat and Republican administrations that “strongly oppose such unilateral measures, which exacerbate tensions and undermine the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Israelis and Palestinians to avoid escalating tensions in the region and “to take practical steps that can improve the well-being of the Palestinian people.”

Neither the State Department nor the joint international statement commented on two attacks in Jerusalem on Monday. An Israeli border policeman died after being stabbed by a terrorist and hit by friendly fire during the attack, and another terrorist stabbed and wounded an Israeli teen in the Old City. Neither mentioned that the Israeli Security Cabinet’s decision to legalize the communities came after a terrorist murdered three Israelis in Jerusalem, including children.

“We continue to closely monitor developments on the ground which impact the viability of the two-state solution and stability in the region at large,” the joint statement said.

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