The British Government denounced Thursday [June 27 2013] the recent Israeli decision granting a final approval for the construction of 69 new units in the Har Homa [Jabal Abu Ghneim] illegal settlement between occupied Jerusalem and Bethlehem.Britain said that the Israeli decision, made by the Jerusalem City council, is another obstacle to the efforts to resume direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Alistair Pert, British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in charge of Middle East, North Africa and South Asian Affairs, stated that Britain strongly believes that settlements built on the occupied territories are illegal, illegitimate under International Law, and are an obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

Pert added that he made it clear during his visit to the region earlier this month that, that both Israel and the Palestinians, need to act courageously in order to boost the American efforts to resume direct and unconditional peace talks.

“Both parties must refrain from unilateral moves that could jeopardize the efforts to resume the political process”, he added, “The failure to resume talks could have very serious effects on the Israelis and Palestinians”.

Israel’s settlements are also a direct violation to the Fourth Geneva Convention to which Israel is a signatory.