France condemns Israel’s plan to build more settler houses in the West Bank

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PARIS (Reuters) – France on Tuesday condemned Israel’s plan to advance construction of another 800 Jewish settler homes in the occupied West Bank in a bid to cement plans shortly before the departure of settlement-friendly US President Donald Trump .

In a statement, the French foreign ministry urged the Israeli authorities to abandon the plan. Referring to Israel and the Palestinians, who seek a state in the territory occupied by Israel, he said: “(We) call on the parties to avoid any unilateral measures which could jeopardize the two-state solution based on international law. and agreed parameters. “

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that around 800 houses would be built in the settlements of Beit El and Givat Zeev, north of Jerusalem, and in Tal Menashe, Rehelim, Shavei Shomron, Barkan and Karnei Shomron in the north. of the West Bank. He gave no start date for construction.

The Palestinians condemned this construction as illegal. The move appeared to be timed to fix Israel’s master plan in indelible ink before Joe Biden, who has criticized its settlement policy, became president of the United States on January 20.

The Trump administration has effectively endorsed Israel’s right to build settlements in the West Bank by abandoning the long-held US position that they violate international law. Trump also delighted Israeli leaders and angered Palestinians by recognizing the challenge of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the American embassy there.

Most countries view Israeli settlements as a violation of international law. Israel disputes this, citing historical, political and Biblical ties to the West Bank, where more than 440,000 Israeli settlers now live among 3 million Palestinians who have limited autonomy under Israeli occupation.

Report by Jean-Stéphane Brosse; Written by Dominique Vidalon; Edited by Mark Heinrich

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