Egypt’s foreign ministry condemned the building of new 450 Israeli housing units inside the West Bank in an official statement on Saturday.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Badr Abdelatty was quoted in the statement as saying “this settlement destroys Egypt’s endeavours to resume peace talks between Palestine and Israel.”
He added such a move will increase the current hostile status between both parties by violating international laws and the four Geneva treaties concerned with preventing Israelis from changing the demographics for areas under “occupation”.
The Israeli government had earlier published bids for the building of new 450 units in West Bank settlements on Friday, following an extended freeze on implementing the decision last year.
According to local Israeli news outlets, the settlement includes 102 units in the Hebron suburb of Kiryat Arba, 78 single-family homes in Alfei Menashe and 156 units in Elkana. The tenders also include 114 units in East Migron, all located over the Green Line.
Ariel Rosenberg, a spokesman for the Israeli Housing Ministry, announced “the bids were not new but had been remarketed after they failed to attract contractors last year”. He added failed tenders are automatically remarketed by professional staff in the Israel Land Authority.
However, the decision provoked negative responses worldwide. A Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) official described the act as a “war crime”, according to AFP. He also called on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to investigate the settlements issue.
The United States, a strong ally of Israel, also criticised the settlements. State Department spokesperson Jennifer Psaki said: “We believe that settlements are illegitimate and are counterproductive to achieving a two-state outcome.”
Psaki also added the settlement will have detrimental effects on the ground, inflame already heightened tensions with the Palestinians, and further isolate Israel internationally.
In August 2014, Israel announced appropriating 400 hectares of land in the West Bank to house 1,000 Israel families. This appropriation, the largest in 30 years, followed a month-long cross fire between Israelis and armed resistance groups in Gaza strip.
“We remain very closely engaged with both officials from the Palestinian Authority as well as from Israel at many levels,” Psaki added.
Abdel Alim Mohamed, political analyst on Israeli affairs at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told Daily News Egypt that “the green light is always on for Israel to build new settlements. There is no retribution from the international community to Israeli’s violating acts.”
According to Mohamed, the responses made by the US, Egypt and Palestine are not enough and instead there should be a concrete sanction, such as boycotting economic relations with Israel.