Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, today made the following statement:
"I am deeply disappointed by the approval of 942 new housing units in the Israeli settlement of Gilo, East Jerusalem. The EU is also closely following upcoming plans for settlements on the Mount Scopus Slopes, in Har Homa C and in Pisgat Ze'ev. These plans may further damage an already fragile political environment.
I reiterate that the EU considers that settlement activities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, undermine trust between the parties and constitute an obstacle to peace.
The actions taken by the Israeli Government contravene repeated and urgent calls by the international community, including the Quartet, and run counter to achieving a peaceful solution that will preserve Israel's security and realize the Palestinians' right to statehood. If there is to be genuine peace, a way must be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states."