Britain 'deeply concerned' at new Israeli settlements
Britain condemned on Friday as "deeply concerning" Israel's approval for the construction of 900 new homes in east Jerusalem, saying it undermined efforts to build peace in the region.
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said: "I condemn yesterday's announcement by the government of Israel to approve the construction of over 900 housing units which will expand significantly the illegal settlement of Har Homa in East Jerusalem.
"Unilateral actions such as this undermine international efforts to build lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians and make the two-state solution harder to achieve.
"At a time when Israel's friends are working to restart negotiations, this decision is deeply concerning."
Thursday's approval marked the final planning stage for a project that has garnered fierce criticism from the Palestinians and the international community.
It will significantly expand the hilltop neighbourhood of Har Homa, which lies in Jerusalem's southwest and is defined as being within the municipal boundaries despite lying directly next to the Palestinian West Bank town of Bethlehem.
© 2011 AFP