Britain, Australia and Canada have joined forces to urge the Israeli occupation to stop its settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, amid rising tensions and violence in the region.
In a joint statement issued on Friday, the foreign ministers of the three countries said they were “deeply concerned” by the Israeli decision to approve over 5,700 new settlement units this week, as well as changes to the approval process that would speed up construction.
“The continued expansion of settlements is an obstacle to peace and negatively impacts efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution. We call on the Government of Israel to reverse these decisions,” the statement said.
The statement also expressed concern over the recent escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, which has claimed dozens of lives and injured hundreds more.
“We condemn all acts of violence, incitement and terrorism, and call for calm and restraint from all sides. We urge all parties to refrain from actions that undermine the prospects for peace and stability,” the statement said.
The statement added that the three countries remain committed to supporting a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just and fair solution for refugees.
Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war and has since built over 130 settlements there, housing more than 600,000 Israeli settlers. The international community considers the settlements illegal under international law and an impediment to peace.