(Photo Credit: AFP)
The EU ambassador to Palestine, Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, condemned Israel’s initiative to establish nearly 600 illegal settler units in the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian ambassador urged Tel Aviv to reconsider its settlement plans, releasing his condemnation on 24 May in a statement during his visit to Nablus with a delegation of 20 EU consuls and ambassadors.
Burgsdorff further clarified that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian village of Sebastia is a direct violation of international law, adding that the EU is in solidarity with residents of the village, affirming that Palestinians have the right to reside in Sebastia.
According to local reports and rights groups, Tel Aviv approved a proposal to invest $8 million in Sebastia to develop additional settler units and establish provisions to minimize Palestinian access to the site.
Last week, the chief of Israel’s military’s Central Command signed a decree that permitted Israelis to enter the West Bank’s Homesh area, which would essentially pave the way for constructing another settlement in the occupied West Bank. This decree would reestablish the Homesh outpost, which was decommissioned under Israel’s ‘disengagement’ law in 2005 following the Israeli military’s withdrawal from Gaza.
On 22 May, the US issued a rare criticism over Israel’s decision to allow Jewish settlers to establish a settlement around the Homesh outpost area.
The US State Department has previously demanded that Israel refrain from making provocative moves against the Palestinians, which in this case, would assure further confrontations between the Israeli military and Palestinian resistance.
According to a Hebrew media report last month, the Israeli Knesset has passed its third reading of a bill that would lift the ban on settlers returning to four settlements in the occupied West Bank, including Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim, and Kadim. These previous settlements were also evacuated under the disengagement law in 2005.
Last month, Israeli news outlet Haaretz suggested that the judicial overhaul policy was the Israeli far-right’s response and “revenge” to the 2005 Disengagement Law.