The European Union has sharply criticised the announcement this week by Israel to promote plans for over a thousand settlement units and published tenders for over 800 units throughout the West Bank.

A statement from the EU’s External Action Service (EEAS) on Thursday said that if the programme was implemented, it “would further jeopardise the prospect of a contiguous and viable future Palestinian state”.

“The European Union’s position on Israeli settlement construction and related activities is clear and has not changed: all settlement activity is illegal under international law, and it undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace. The EU expects the Israeli authorities to reconsider and reverse these decisions”, the statement continued.

“The European Union will continue to engage with both parties and with its international and regional partners, including within the Quartet, with Norway as Chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, and with Arab countries, to support a resumption of a meaningful process towards a negotiated two-state solution, the only realistic and viable way to fulfil the legitimate aspirations of both parties”, the statement concluded.