UK, Canada, Australia urge Israel to reverse plans for settlement expansion

The United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia called yesterday on the Israeli occupation to reverse recently approved plans for more settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

The three countries said in a joint statement they were “gravely concerned” by Israel’s decision to advance plans for some 5,700 new houses for Israeli settlers. These houses are part of the more than 13,000 settlement homes that have been advanced through a pair of major planning stages so far in 2023.

The foreign ministers of Britain, Australia and Canada condemned Israel’s “continued expansion of settlements” which they described as “an obstacle to peace” and a move that “negatively impacts efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution.”

“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,” said James Cleverly, Hon Penny Wong, and Mélanie Joly, the foreign minister of the UK, Australia, and Canada, respectively.

“We call on the government of Israel to reverse these decisions,” they wrote.

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