The Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore has today strongly criticised Israel’s decision to construct 3,000 new settlement units in East Jerusalem and West Bank.
Reports of the decision first emerged on Friday.
Minister Gilmore expressed concern at the development, saying that it shows Israel has no real intention of desisting from expanding and building new settlements, which are illegal under international law.
“This latest announcement conflicts very much with the stated commitment of prime minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu and his government to making progress through peace talks and achieving a two-state solution,” he said.
“I am particularly troubled by the stated intention to proceed with construction in the E1 area of the West Bank which I visited last January.
“Any settlement construction in this strategically important area could only be interpreted as an intention to divide the West Bank in two while also further separating Palestinian East Jerusalem from its natural hinterland.”
Official sources say that Israel's move is in retaliation at the Palestinians winning the rank of a UN non-member state last week.