BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The European Union expressed its "deep disappointment" on Thursday about Israel's announcement of a new move to build around 1,500 homes in Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank.
"We call on the Israeli authorities to reverse this decision and to direct all their efforts towards an early resumption of the peace talks," the EU said in a statement, stressing that the move was "unhelpful" for peace efforts.
"The EU and its Member States have repeatedly called on all sides -- most recently in May -- to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid any unilateral action which may further undermine peace efforts and the viability of a two-state-solution, such as continued settlement expansion," the statement continued.
"What is needed right now is constructive engagement, in order to create a climate conducive to resumed negotiations."
Earlier Thursday, Israel announced that it would be building 1,500 new settlement homes in the Occupied Territories, including 400 in East Jerusalem and the rest elsewhere in the West Bank.
The move comes in response to a Palestinian unity deal that brought together Fatah and Hamas into one government for the first time in seven years.
Israel rejects the deal, however, because it considers Hamas a terrorist organization.