British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Israel's
plans to build hundreds of new housing units in the West Bank, asserting that the proposal was "provocative," The Independent reported Friday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that 851 new homes are to be built in various settlements in the West Bank. The announcement came shortly after the Knesset voted down a settlement regulation bill, which was meant to prevent five buildings located in the Beit El settlement from being uprooted.
The measure was branded as an incentive meant to placate settlers fuming over the impending removal of the homes, which were built on contested land in the Ulpana neighborhood.
'Plan sets dangerous precedent.' Hague (Photo: AP)
Hague said Friday that the solution of building more homes in the settlements set "a dangerous precedent".
"I condemn the announcement by Israel to authorize the building of 851 new settlement units across the West Bank.
"While we appreciate the Israeli government's efforts to avoid damaging legislation in the Israeli Knesset by voting against a bill to legalise West Bank outposts, the decision to move settlers from an illegal outpost by creating housing units in settlements elsewhere across the Green Line sets a dangerous precedent.
"Such outposts are illegal under both Israeli and international law and should be removed entirely.
Hague noted that the British government and its European Union partners have been consistent in their opposition to settlement construction, which he said are illegal under international law and are hindering to the peace process.
"Continued systematic settlement activity, and repeated breaches by the Israeli government of international law, is provocative, undermines the prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and makes the two-state solution ever harder to realise," he said in the statement. "It makes it increasingly difficult for Israel's international friends to defend the Israeli government's actions.
"I urge the Israeli government to change its approach, to meet its international obligations fully and for both sides to engage constructively in the search for peace."