[Thursday August 15, 2013] The Japanese Foreign Ministry issued a statement strongly denouncing the latest Israeli decision to build 1200 units for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.Japan said that the Israeli decision to build more illegal settlements could topple the recently resumed direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, under direct American mediation.

It added that this decision threatens the entire peace process, and does not help create the needed atmosphere that would boost the efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Japan called on Israel to void its plan, and added that it does not recognize any act that jeopardizes final status talks based on the full Israeli withdrawal to the borders of 1967.

It urged Israel and the Palestinians to act on boosting mutual trust and confidence, and to conduct all needed efforts to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace.

The new Israeli approval of the 1200 units came during a government session on Sunday; the units are planned to be built in occupied Jerusalem and in settlement blocs around the city.

The decision came only one week after the government approved another illegal plan meant to construct hundreds of units in different, illegal, isolated settlements in the occupied West Bank.

In a recent report, the Palestinian Census stated that, by the end of 2012, the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank reached approximately (563.546) settlers, comparing to (538.781) settlers in 2011.

This shows a %4.6 increase in the number of settlers in one year.

The number of settlers in occupied Jerusalem is (203.176) settlers, (%49.2) of the entire settler population, while the number of settlers in the Ramallah and Al-Biereh District is (107.586), in addition to (66.392) settlers in Bethlehem, and (35.138) settlers in Salfit.

Settlements are illegal under International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention to which Israel is a signatory.