May 19
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The Foreign Ministries of France, Germany, Italy and Spain called on the Israeli authorities to stop the construction of new residential units in East Jerusalem.

Earlier this month, Israeli authorities approved plans to build about 3,500 homes in occupied East Jerusalem, almost half of which will be built in the controversial areas of Givat Hamatos and Har Homa, Reuters reported.

The European countries said in a statement that hundreds of new buildings would be an additional obstacle to a two-state solution, referring to international peace efforts to create a state for the Palestinians.

They noted that construction in the area would further disconnect the West Bank from East Jerusalem, and that these settlements were in violation of international law.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City, in the 1967 war and then annexed it, which is not internationally recognized.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which borders the city and Gaza. Israel regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.

Most world powers consider Israeli settlements illegal due to the seizure of territory in which the Palestinians aspire to statehood.

Four countries also expressed concern about evictions and demolitions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, where residents are being forced to relocate.

Earlier Wednesday, Israeli police evicted a Palestinian family from their East Jerusalem home, where they said they had lived for decades, before an excavator demolished the house, drawing criticism from human rights activists and diplomats.

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