'As Donald Trump cozies up to the hardline Israeli right-wingers, it seems that support for a sensible Middle East policy is in decline. But a number of the US’ European allies seem to be beginning to break ranks with Washington.
On May 30, the Israeli Housing Ministry announced plans to build several hundred new residential buildings in the Pisgat Ze’ev and Ramot neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Both areas are located in the illegally occupied East of the city, which was seized in the June 1967 war. The UN has consistently condemned such settlements as a violation of international law. However, western governments, led by the US, have for decades been turning a blind eye.
The US has gone further by enabling Israel through decades of generous military aid. President Donald Trump’s administration has taken kowtowing to right-wing Israeli governments to new heights. Trump recently officially recognized the Golan Heights as belonging to Israel, in spite of the area also constituting an illegal occupation under international law.
But now it appears that the US’s historically loyal European allies are parting from Washington’s hardline pro-Israel stance. The UK’s recently appointed minister for the Middle East, Andrew Murrison, has just condemned the planned constructions in Pisgat Ze’ev and Ramot. The plans would take the two sides “further away from a negotiated peace agreement,” he said in a statement.
“The UK Government is gravely concerned by plans announced on 30 May to advance tenders for hundreds of settlement housing units in occupied East Jerusalem.”
The government of France has also condemned the proposals. In a statement released on June 4, the French Foreign Ministry said that they undermine the prospect of a two-state settlement to the conflict, risk igniting an escalation of hostilities, and would be illegal under international law. The ministry called on Israel to abandon the plans and all other projects to build on occupied land.'
Read more: Action or lip service? US' European allies seem to break ranks over Israeli settlements
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