Officials in Tel Aviv have expressed concern over a letter signed by 15 European countries and the European Union, deeming it an introduction to punitive measures against Israel.
Such measures could become a reality if US President Donald Trump loses the electoral battle, they said.
The EU and 15 European countries on Thursday renewed their opposition to Israeli plans to advance construction plans in areas of Jerusalem beyond the Green Line.
They expressed their “grave concerns regarding the advancement of settlement construction in Givat Hamatos and potentially in the E1 area,” according to the letter addressing Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
“Settlements are illegal under International Humanitarian Law,” it stressed, adding that any further settlement construction in this strategically sensitive area will have a devastating impact on a contiguous Palestinian State, as well as severely undermining the possibility of a negotiated two-state solution in line with internationally agreed parameters.
The 15 countries that signed the letter were France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.
This was the second letter sent to Israel by the Europeans after sending a similar one in May to reject the annexation plan.
In July, foreign ministers from 11 European countries demanded the EU provide a quick list of possible actions to stop Israel from annexing parts of the occupied West Bank.
In a letter addressed to the EU foreign policy chief, the top officials asked for the potential “legal consequences” for Israel over its annexation move.
It was signed at the time by foreign ministers of Belgium, Ireland, Italy, France, Malta, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Finland.
Israel’s development in E1, an area between East Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, and Givat Hamatos, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem, would severely undermine the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged days before general elections in March to advance plans to build thousands of homes in both areas.
He also vowed to start annexing parts of the West Bank slated under Trump’s peace plan, a promise that was similarly denounced by the EU and many European states.
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