London, 15 Shafar 1434/28 December 2012  (WAFA/MINA) – British Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt condemned the Jerusalem District Planning Board’s approvals of building over 3150 units in Givaat Hamatos and 1242 units in Mordot Gilo South, said a Foreign office press release on Thursday.


     Speaking after the announcements on 24 December that the Jerusalem District Planning Board issued approval for 1242 units in Mordot Gilo South, and that Ariel College is to be upgraded to university status thereby creating the first university in a settlement illegal under international law, Burt said that taking such steps, despite the international community raises UK’s profound concerns.


      “Last week Foreign Secretary William Hague made clear our condemnation and deep disappointment at the approval of the East Jerusalem Ramat Shlomo plan.” He said, “These are further profoundly provocative actions that run contrary to the Fourth Geneva Convention.”


       Burt affirmed that such actions by the Israeli Government are damaging Israel’s international reputation.


       He said that UK is extremely disappointed in the decision to upgrade Ariel’s university centre since Ariel is beyond the Green Line in a settlement that is illegal according to international law.


       The decision, according to Burt, will deepen the presence of the settlements in the Palestinian territories and will create another obstacle to peace.


        UK reiterated its call on Israel to reverse these decisions and take no further steps aimed at expanding or entrenching settlement activity.


         Burt said, “When I spoke with President Mahmoud Abbas last week I expressed our appreciation for the measured response the Palestinian Leadership had been taking in response to Israel’s recent settlement announcements.”


        Burt called on Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to show the strong leadership needed to achieve a return to negotiations for a two-state solution, which will bring a just and permanent solution to this conflict. (T/R-015/R-006).

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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