Britain, Australia, and Canada have jointly called upon the Israeli government to reverse its recent decision to approve new settlement units in the West Bank, expressing deep concern over the ongoing cycle of violence in the region.
In a statement issued by the foreign ministers of the three countries, they expressed their alarm at Israel’s approval of over 5,700 new settlement units in the West Bank this week. They also highlighted the recent changes made to the settlement approval process, aimed at expediting construction.
The foreign ministers emphasized that the expansion of settlements poses a significant obstacle to peace and undermines the prospects of achieving a negotiated two-state solution. They urged the Government of Israel to reconsider these decisions and take steps towards deescalating tensions.
Violence has been escalating in the West Bank, with incidents including deadly clashes in Jenin, Palestinians carrying out fatal shootings near Jewish settlements, attacks by settlers on Palestinian villages, and even the rare use of Israeli air power against militants.
The majority of countries view these settlements, which were built on land captured by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, as illegal. The presence of settlements remains a central and contentious issue in the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Palestinians’ aspiration is to establish an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem serving as its capital.