More than 400 European lawmakers have urged leaders to stop Israel’s “de-facto annexation” of the occupied West Bank.
The parliamentarians said in a letter addressed to European foreign ministers and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell that the administration of former US President Donald Trump had left the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “farther away from peace than ever”.
“The Biden administration presents a chance to correct course,” the politicians, including members of national legislatures and senates, as well as members of the European parliament said in the letter, cited by Agence France-Presse.
Trump adopted a pro-Israel policy during his presidency.
He sparked controversy by officially recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli “capital” in December 2017, before moving the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv in May 2018.
Israel lays claim to the entire Jerusalem, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as occupied territory and Palestinians consider it the capital of their future state.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 478, adopted on August 20, 1980, prohibits countries from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.
Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital, have condemned the US pro-Israel agenda.
Emboldened by the anti-Palestine policies of Trump, Israel stepped up its settlement expansion in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounces settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year allegedly agreed to pause West Bank annexation plans in exchange for normalization with the United Arab Emirates.
“However, developments on the ground clearly point to a reality of rapidly progressing de facto annexation, especially through accelerated settlement expansion and demolitions of Palestinian structures,” the letter said.
“Europe must work with the Biden administration, countries in the region and the parties on the ground to prevent unilateral action undermining the possibility of peace, advance the rights and security of all people under Israel’s effective control,” it added.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
The former leader of Britain’s Labor party, Jeremy Corbyn, and France’s Jean-Luc Melenchon were among the signatories of the letter.
Biden, who indicated his administration will restore US opposition against settlement expansion in the West Bank, does not intend to order the return of the US embassy to Tel Aviv.