UK, Australia and Canada express ‘deep concern’ over Israel’s approval of new settlement units in West Bank

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Australia and Canada have called on Israel’s government to reverse a decision to approve new settlement units in the West Bank, saying they are “deeply concerned” by an ongoing cycle of violence.

This week, Israel approved over 5,700 new settlement units in the West Bank and earlier this month instituted changes to the settlement approval process which facilitate swifter approval of construction.

“The continued expansion of settlements is an obstacle to peace and negatively impacts efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution. We call on the Government of Israel to reverse these decisions,” the foreign ministers of Britain, Australia and Canada said in a joint statement.

Violence has been surging in the West Bank, including deadly clashes in Jenin, a fatal shooting by Palestinians near a Jewish settlement, attacks on Palestinian villages by rampaging settlers, and rare use of Israeli air power against militants.

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