European countries appealed to Israel to cease construction in East Jerusalem

IsraelOn Wednesday evening, the foreign ministries of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain requested Israel to halt the construction of additional housing units in East Jerusalem.

Israeli officials authorized plans earlier this month for the building of over 3,500 dwellings in occupied East Jerusalem, roughly half of which would be erected in the disputed neighborhoods of Givat Hamatos and Har Homa. The European nations stated in a statement that the hundreds of new structures would “present a further hurdle to the two-state solution,” alluding to international attempts to form a Palestinian state.

They said that construction in this region would further divide the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and that the settlements were illegal under international law. A request for comment from the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs was not immediately returned by Reuters. In a 1967 conflict, Israel took control of East Jerusalem, including the Old City, and eventually annexed it, a decision that was not recognized internationally.

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Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state they intend to establish in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel considers Jerusalem to be its indivisible capital. The majority of foreign powers consider Israeli settlements to be illegitimate because they take up land where Palestinians desire independence.

The four nations were particularly concerned about evictions and demolitions in Sheikh Jarrah, an East Jerusalem neighborhood where residents claim they are being relocated. Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli police forcibly ejected a Palestinian family from their East Jerusalem house, which they said they had lived in for decades, before a digger demolished it, drawing condemnation from human rights advocates and diplomats.

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