Last Updated: Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:29 am (KSA) 08:29 am (GMT)

Russia joins U.S., EU in criticizing Israel’s legalization of West Bank outposts

The three settler outposts in the West Bank join the 120 official settlements across the occupied territories that house more than 342,000 people. (AP)
The three settler outposts in the West Bank join the 120 official settlements across the occupied territories that house more than 342,000 people. (AP)

Russia on Thursday joined the United States and the European Union in expressing concern over Israel’s decision to legalize three settler outposts in West Bank.

“Moscow is treating this information with serious concern,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, noting that the move in the occupied Palestinian territory “affects the chances” of new talks being held by the two sides.

On Wednesday, the European Union called on Israel to reverse its decision.

“I am extremely concerned about the decision of the Israeli authorities regarding the status of the settlements of Sansana, Rechelim and Bruchin in the occupied Palestinian territory,” said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

“I call upon them to reverse this decision,” she said in a statement.

An Israeli ministerial committee decided Tuesday to legalize the status of the three communities, which were established in the 1990s but did not have Israeli status.

They will join the 120 official settlements across the occupied West Bank that house more than 342,000 people.

“The EU has repeatedly called on Israel to end all settlement activity. Settlements are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and threaten the viability of a two-state solution,” Ashton said.

She also said the Israeli decision ran counter to the spirit of an April 11 statement by the Quartet of Middle East peacebrokers, the European Union, United States, Russia and United Nations.

The Quartet, she recalled, “expressed concern about unilateral and provocative actions, including continued settlement activity.”

The United States also voiced concern about the decision, saying it was unhelpful to efforts to make peace with the Palestinians. Washington asked the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “clarification.”

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