France, Germany, Italy and Spain call on Israel to stop construction in East Jerusalem

The Foreign Ministries of France, Germany, Italy and Spain have called on the Israeli authorities to halt the construction of new housing in East Jerusalem.

Earlier this month, Israeli authorities approved plans to build around 3,500 homes in occupied East Jerusalem, nearly half of which will be built in the controversial neighborhoods of Givat Hamatos and Har Homa, Reuters reported.

European countries said in a statement that hundreds of new buildings would be an additional obstacle to a two-state solution, referring to international peace efforts aimed at creating a state for the Palestinians.

They noted that construction in the area would further disconnect the West Bank from East Jerusalem and that such settlements violated international law.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City, in the 1967 war and then annexed it, which is not internationally recognized.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which borders the city and Gaza. Israel regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.

Most world powers consider Israeli settlements illegal due to the seizure of territories in which Palestinians aspire to a state.

Four countries have also expressed concern over evictions and demolitions in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where residents are being forced to relocate.

Earlier Wednesday, Israeli police evicted a Palestinian family from their East Jerusalem home, where they said they had lived for decades, before an excavator demolished the home, drawing criticism from human rights activists man and diplomats.