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Palestinian Israeli conflict

France, EU members slam Israel’s settlement plans, terror listing of Palestinian NGOs

“We reiterate our strong opposition to the expansion of settlements and will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties,” a joint statement from Estonia, Ireland, France, Norway and Albania read.

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Several EU member states on the UN Security Council have criticized Israel’s move to proceed with settlement construction in Palestine’s West Bank and East Jerusalem while slamming the decision to dub six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations.

“We reiterate our strong opposition to the expansion of settlements and will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties,” a joint statement from Estonia, Ireland, France, Norway and Albania read.

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The EU members called on Israel to immediately halt the construction of settlements in the occupied territories, including E1 and Givat Hamatos. They warned Israel not to proceed with the tenders for the construction of more than 1,300 housing units and plans to construct nearly 3,000 housing units in occupied Palestinian territories.

“As stated in the Security Council Resolution 2334, settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between the parties,” the joint statement read.

Separately, the EU member states criticized Israel’s decision to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terror groups.

“These listings are a matter of serious concern, as they have far-reaching consequences for the organizations in political, legal and financial terms. We will be engaging Israeli authorities for more information regarding the basis for these designations, which we will study carefully,” they said.

Israel has claimed the six groups have ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization under US and EU law.

Israel has said that evidence to prove these ties was classified.

“Civil society is an essential contributor to good governance, human rights, international law, democratic values and sustainable development across the world, including in Israel and Palestine,” the joint statement read.

They called on all sides to refrain from unilateral actions that would undermine the prospect of a two-state solution.

“We will continue to support steps towards sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Read more: Finnish charity cuts ties with Palestinian NGO accused by Israel of aiding militants