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EU's Ashton calls on Israel to reverse settlement plans

Dec. 3, 2012 10:39 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 3, 2012 10:40 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The foreign policy chief of the European Union on Sunday called on Israel not to follow through with new plans to increase settlement building.

Israeli government officials unveiled on Friday plans to build 3,000 new settlement units and expedite building in the so-called E-1 area that bisects the occupied West Bank, a day after Palestine was admitted to the UN as a non-member state.

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said she was "extremely worried by the prospects of settlement expansion on such a scale."

"The reaction of the international community to any such decision is likely also to be influenced by the extent to which such expansion may represent a strategic step undermining the prospects of a contiguous and viable Palestine with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both it and Israel."

Calling on both Israel and Palestine to work towards a return to negotiations, Ashton asked the Israeli government to "show its commitment to the early renewal of negotiations to end the conflict and the occupation by not taking forward these plans."
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