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Egypt condemns Israeli settlement building as 'killing the hopes of Palestinians'

July 7, 2016 12:33 P.M. (Updated: July 9, 2016 10:35 P.M.)
The illegal Israeli settlement of Har Homa in occupied East Jerusalem, is seen on Sept. 1, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli, File)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned on Thursday the Israeli government’s decision to build hundreds of housing units in illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

The ministry slammed Israel’s continuous building of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory -- in contravention of international law -- and obstruction of the peace process.

The Egyptian government urged the Israeli government to “cancel the decision and put an end to the policy of escalation, which kills the hopes of Palestinians.”

On Sunday, the Israeli government approved the construction of 140 homes in the settlement of Ramot in occupied East Jerusalem and 100 for the Har Homa settlement in southeastern Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also approved plans to construct 560 new housing units for Jewish Israelis in the illegal settlement of Maale Adumim, as far-right lawmakers also announced their intentions to introduce legislation to annex the settlement to Israel.

The Israeli government also opened a tender for the construction of 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, a decision made in the wake of the brutal killing of a 13-year-old Israeli girl in the settlement by a Palestinian resident of Hebron.

The Egyptian comments come in the wake of a wave of condemnation from Palestinian and international leaders.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi responded to Israel’s recent plans in the occupied Palestinian territory in a statement on Monday, saying that the move was a “blatant disregard for international laws and conventions, standing UN resolutions and global consensus.”

“By isolating Jerusalem from its Palestinian environs and ethnically cleansing the occupied city of its indigenous population, the Israeli government is bent on destroying the viability, integrity and territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Ashrawi said.

The spokesperson for the European Union reacted to Israel’s recent announcement, saying the decision “threatens the viability of the two-state solution and calls into question Israel's commitment to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians.”

“Despite repeated calls by the international community Israel is continuing its settlement policy, which is illegal under international law. The EU urges Israel to stop this policy and to reverse its recent decision,” the statement added.

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Israel’s decision, urging Israeli leaders to halt the plans in order to advance peace negotiations for a final-status agreement.

“This raises legitimate questions about Israel's long-term intentions, which are compounded by continuing statements of some Israeli ministers calling for the annexation of the West Bank,” Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

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