EU sounds alarm over higher rate of Israeli settlement construction in 2021

A Palestinian shepherd herds his flock near the Jewish settlement of Har Homa (Mahmoud Illean - AP)

The Palestine Chronicle  /  July 22, 2022 

2021 experienced an even higher rate of settlement units’ advancements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in comparison to the previous year, enforcing the trend of a continuously increasing settlement expansion on occupied Palestinian territories, according to a new report by the Office of the European Union Representative to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Adding to the exponentially high figures in 2021 were particularly the advancement of settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem, which more than doubled compared to the previous year, from 6,288 housing units to 14,894,” said the report on illegal Jewish settlements.

“This trend of deepening settlement projects through plans and tenders occurred despite the announcement by the new Israeli government, which started its tenure on 13 June 2021, that it would be committed to a status quo when it comes to occupation-related matters,” the report said.

“The advancement, in 2021, in particular of three settlements – E1, Atarot and Lower Aqueduct – is a serious cause of concern. The settlements, if constructed, would disconnect East Jerusalemites from major West Bank urban areas, such as Hebron and Ramallah, and would thus have serious implications on Palestinian urban continuity and pose a serious threat to a viable two-state solution,” the report continued.

Other trends and developments contributing to settlement expansion in the reporting period included advancements in infrastructure and road projects as well as the establishment of new illegal so-called outpost farms. The rise in settlement expansion plans by the Israeli authorities was also accompanied by a worrisome trend of rising settler violence in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“As outlined in several statements by the EEAS Spokesperson on new settlements announcements in 2021, the EU has repeatedly called on Israel to end all settlement activity and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001. It remains the EU’s firm position that settlements are illegal under international law. Israel’s decision to advance plans for the approval and construction of almost new settlement units in 2021, i.a. for Givat Hamatos and Har Homa, further undermines the prospects of a viable two-state solution,” stressed the EU.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)