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Britain joins EU and UN in condemning Israeli settlement plans

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has criticised Israel’s plans to expand its settlement in East Jerusalem, just days after both the European Union and United Nations condemned the move.

In a statement released Sunday, Hague said he was “dismayed” by Israel’s announcement to build 2,600 new homes in the settlement of Givat Hamatos and to legalise housing in West Bank outposts.

“This provocative step, which further encloses East Jerusalem, is particularly disappointing given the international condemnation of the expansion of the Mordot Gilo settlement just a few weeks ago. Settlements are not only illegal under international law, but also undermine the possibility of a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and those working for a sustainable peace.

"I call again for these announcements to be revoked. Together with our EU and other partners we will make very clear to the Israeli government the strength of our concern."

Earlier this week, European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton labelled the move “unacceptable” and said they "run against roadmap obligations".

She went on to say that the proposed constructions were "of particular concern as they would cut the geographic contiguity between Jerusalem and Bethlehem".

The call was reiterated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who issued a statement calling the developments “unacceptable” and said that any further settlement activity “must cease”.

A statement released by his office said,

"The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at continued efforts to advance planning for new Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem."

The condemnation comes as the UN Security Council assesses Palestine’s bid to attain full membership at the United Nations. Palestine has rejected talks with Israel since late 2010 due to Israel’s continued building of settlements, which have been deemed illegal under international law.

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