European countries urge Israel to stop construction in occupied East Jerusalem
The foreign ministries of France, Germany, Italy and Spain urged Israeli authorities on Wednesday to stop the construction of new housing units in occupied East Jerusalem.
Earlier this month, Israeli authorities approved plans for the construction of around 3,500 homes in the area, nearly half of which are to be built in the illegal settlements of Givat Hamatos and Har Homa.
In a statement, the European countries said that the hundreds of new buildings would "constitute an additional obstacle to the two-state solution".
They added that building in the area would further disconnect the occupied West Bank from East Jerusalem and reiterated that the settlements are a violation of international law.
The four countries also expressed concern about the continuing evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli forces raided the home of the Salhiya family in Sheikh Jarrah, violently arresting and assaulting family members, before emptying the house and demolishing it.
Palestinian groups and international rights organisations condemned the demolition, which left 18 people homeless including children, as a “war crime” and a violation of international law.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war and annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognised by the international community.