EU slams Israel for building thousands of settlement homes
"In October 2019, Israeli authorities approved the advancement of well over 2,000 housing units in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank," an EU spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The European Union's position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace, as reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 2334."
The spokesperson added that the construction of roads to settlements across the West Bamk will "entrench the fragmentation" of the occupied territories - a system that is commonly compared to apartheid.
"Israeli authorities also approved a building permit for the construction of a new tunnel road, which bypasses Bethlehem to the west," the EU said.
"The progressive construction of a separate road network, connecting settlements and outposts to each other and to the road network in Israel while circumventing Palestinian towns and communities, is entrenching the fragmentation of the West Bank."
The EU demanded Israel "end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power".
Half-a-century of illegal occupation
Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, committing various abuses against Palestinian civilians.
More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.
The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.
Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.
Along with stealing land, Israeli soldiers and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories in various ways.
Israeli forces and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories through harming and killing civilians, demolishing homes, poisoning livestock, vandalising property and other forms of violence.
Israel often forces Palestinians to demolish their own homes under the pretext of not having a building permits.
Applications for building permits often take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".