The decision by Israeli authorities to approve the building of new and illegal settlement colonies in the West Bank shows a complete disregard and contempt for peace, Sinn Féin’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Seán Crowe TD, said today.

On Sunday Israeli authorities in Jerusalem approved the building of 1,200 new illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and today Israeli officials approved the building of a further 940 units in East Jerusalem.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The recent peace talks between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities marked the first official talks since 2010.

“Crucially the last talks broke down due to Israel’s continued settlement building in occupied Palestinian territory. The building on occupied land is not only illegal under international law but it also infringes on the human rights of Palestinian civilians.

“The recent talks, which are supposed to resume this week, are based on a very fragile footing. Israel’s decision to approve these new colonial settlement units shows a complete disregard and contempt for efforts to create any meaningful peace process in the region and a lasting two-state solution to the conflict.

“Israel’s decision seems to be an attempt to sabotage and derail the talks process by forcing the withdrawal of the Palestinian negotiators before anything of substance is addressed.

“By prioritising the building of illegal settlements over the prospect of peace talks and hopefully a peace process, the Israeli government is making it clear that it will not accept the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

“This is in direct conflict with the wishes of the vast majority of the international community, as reflected in the progressive decision to upgrade Palestine’s UN status recently.

“The Israeli government’s position lacks any real credibility and they need to show to the world that they are serious about reaching a meaningful peace agreement with Palestinians.


“These new settlement approvals are further evidence that the Israeli government wants to humiliate the Palestinians and destroy the potential for any lasting peace agreement.

“In response the EU foreign service has stated that it ‘hopes’ Israel’s approval for this illegal units will not stop collapse the peace talks. They also called ‘on both sides to make every effort to make them a success’.

“This weak and pathetic response highlights once again that the EU is content to rely on empty rhetoric and unwilling to act in the interest of decency, human rights and international law in the region.

“It is fundamentally clear that the Israeli government is breaking and flouting international law by continuing to build settlements.

“The timing of the approval of these units shows a complete distain for peace talks and international opinion, yet Israel continues to receive favourable treatment from the EU.

“It’s long past the time that the EU places real and substantial pressure on Israel to abide by international law and to make clear that it will not stand idly by while Israel abuses human rights and attempts to undermine potentials for peace.”