European Union spokesman, Shadi Othman said that a group of settlers attacked representatives of European countries who organized a protest visit to the settlement of “Givat Hamatos” south of occupied Jerusalem, in opposition to the decision to expand it by 1,257 new settlement units.
Othman said that the settlers tried to obstruct the visit, but representatives of European countries insisted on completing it, adding that the visit of the European Union representatives in Palestine to the settlement of Givat Hamtos aimed at gathering information and the risks that the new settlement units would pose to the geographical contact between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The heads of European Union missions, ambassadors and consuls of European countries organized a protest “visit” to the settlement of “Givat Hamatos” south of occupied Jerusalem, in opposition to the decision to expand it by 1257 new settlement units.
The heads of missions, including ambassadors, consuls and representatives of various European countries, stressed that the expansion of the mentioned settlement and the building of a new neighborhood in it would cut off the geographical connection between the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The diplomats met, according to a statement issued by the Office of the European Union Representative in Palestine, “to urgently inspect the site designated for the planned new settlement in the occupied West Bank, where representatives of civil society institutions briefed them and discussed the implications of the Israeli authorities’ decision.”
The representative of the European Union, Sven Kun von Burgsdorf, said that “the Israeli announcement of the opening of bids for Givat Hamatos, located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, is a source of great concern to the European Union and countries with similar positions. This is part of a worrying trend as Israel continues its policy of strengthening settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. ”
“If Israel goes ahead with its plans to settle here, it will seriously damage the prospects for a viable and geographically connected Palestinian state,” he added. More broadly, this would threaten the viability of a negotiated two-state solution, in line with internationally agreed standards and with Jerusalem as the future capital of two states.
“We are also here today to confirm our firm position that settlements are illegal under international law, and that all settlement activity must stop.”
Meanwhile, settlers demonstrated in front of the European Union delegation upon its arrival at the settlement, chanted alongside members of the occupation municipality in Jerusalem, against the members of the delegation, and cut off a press statement that a representative of the Union tried to make.
Yesterday, Sunday, the occupation’s announcement of a tender for building 1257 new settlement units in the “Givat Hamatos” settlement in East Jerusalem sparked international reactions and its territory is wide.
Earlier in the day, the UN envoy to the Middle East, Nikolai Mladenov, commented on the Israeli decision, saying that it “severely harms the chances of establishing a future Palestinian state as part of the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.