UK, Australia and Canada press Israel to reverse approval of new construction in Judea and Samaria

Britain, Australia, and Canada protest Israel’s decision to approve 5,700 new housing units in Judea and Samaria, calling on Jerusalem to rescind plan easing approval process.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

The UK, Canada, and Australia are pressing Israel to rescind its approval of thousands of new housing units in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, warning the new construction could fuel violence in the already turbulent region.

On Friday, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, and British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs James Cleverly released a joint statement saying they are “deeply concerned” by Israel’s approval of more than 5,700 new housing units for towns in Judea and Samaria.

“The Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada and the UK are deeply concerned by recent events in Israel and the West Bank which further reduce the prospects for peace,” the Australian, British, and Canadian foreign ministries said.

“We are gravely concerned by the Government of Israel’s approval on June 26 of over 5,700 new settlement units in the West Bank. We are also concerned by the changes to the settlement approval process instituted by the Government of Israel on June 18, which facilitate swifter approval of construction in settlements.”

“The continued expansion of settlements is an obstacle to peace and negatively impacts efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution. We call on the Government of Israel to reverse these decisions.”

“We are also deeply troubled by the continued violence and loss of life in Israel and in the West Bank. We unequivocally condemn all forms of terrorism and violence against civilians, including the terrorist attack on June 20 in Eli targeting Israeli civilians.”

“We also condemn the reprehensible and ongoing settler violence targeting Palestinians. We welcome the joint statement from the heads of the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Security Agency and the Israel Police as well as statements by other Israeli leaders condemning these acts. We call on authorities to ensure accountability for all perpetrators of violence. The cycle of violence in Israel and the West Bank must be broken.”

On Monday, the Israeli Defense Ministry’s planning committee for Area C of Judea and Samaria approved 5,700 new housing units for communities in Judea and Samaria. The latest units raise the total number of homes approved in Judea and Samaria this year to over 13,000 – more than the number approved during the entire year of the previous annual record, set during the 2020.

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A week earlier, the government approved a plan shortening the approval process for housing permits in Judea and Samaria, easing the bureaucratic red-tape on new construction.