EU Asks Israel to Reverse New Settlements Plans, U.N. Urges Respect of Int'l Law

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The European Union said Thursday it was "deeply disappointed" after Israel unveiled plans to build another 3,200 settler homes, and called for the decision to be reversed, as the U.N. urged Israel to respect “international law.”

Tenders for nearly 1,500 new settlement houses and plans to advance some 1,800 others were issued in retaliation for the formation of a Palestinian unity government backed by Hamas and the international community.

"We are deeply disappointed that the Israeli Land Administration has published new tenders for 1,466 housing units in settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank," the EU said in a statement.

"This move is unhelpful to peace efforts."

The news drew a furious reaction from the Palestinians, who pledged to seek a fresh anti-settlement resolution at the U.N. Security Council for the first time in more than three years.

"We call on the Israeli authorities to reverse this decision and to direct all their efforts towards an early resumption of the peace talks," the EU said.

Later on Thursday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to freeze settlement activity and abide by international law.

Ban is "deeply concerned" by reports that Israel issued the tenders for construction, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

"As the United Nations has reiterated on many occasions, the building of settlements on occupied territory is illegal under international law," he said in a statement.

He reiterated a call from Ban on both parties "to avoid taking unilateral actions on the ground that would further diminish the chances of reaching a negotiated final peace agreement."

"The secretary general calls on Israel to heed the calls of the international community to freeze settlement activity and abide by its commitments under international law and the roadmap," he said.

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