Canada, US and others are ‘deeply concerned’ about Netanyahu’s recent settlement announcement

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly.

(AJNews) – The Canadian government joined the US administration and five European countries to express its “deep concern” about Israel’s decision on Sunday to recognize nine West Bank settlement outposts.

Israel’s cabinet legalized the outposts, which were previously considered illegal under Israeli law, in response to a series of terrorist attacks that killed 10 civilians

On February 14, Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement:

“Canada is concerned by the Government of Israel’s announcement that it will attempt to retroactively legalize nine illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank, as well as its plans to pursue the construction of new housing in existing settlements.

“Canada strongly opposes the expansion of settlements. Such unilateral actions jeopardize efforts to achieve comprehensive, just and lasting peace. This has been Canada’s longstanding policy.

“We are also deeply disturbed by the growing instability and loss of life in Israel and in the West Bank. Canada stands firmly with the Israeli and Palestinian peoples in their right to live in peace, security, with dignity and without fear. We unequivocally condemn all acts of terrorism and violence against civilians.

“Canada remains committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel. Canada stands ready to support all efforts for a two-state solution as the basis for a lasting peace in the region.”

A joint statement was also issued and signed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken – representing US President Joe Biden administration’s sharpest criticism yet of Israel’s new right-wing government. It is in line with Blinken’s pledge not to judge Israel’s government by the past statements and actions of its cabinet ministers, but by its current actions. It came days after Biden criticized the Israeli government’s plan to constrain the power of the judiciary, saying that independent courts are part of “the genius of American democracy and Israeli democracy.”

All of the statement’s signatories are known for their good relationships with Israel.

“We – the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Italy, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, and the Secretary of State of the United States – are deeply troubled by the Israeli government’s announcement that it is advancing nearly 10,000 settlement units and intends to begin a process to normalize nine outposts that were previously deemed illegal under Israeli law,” the statement said. “We strongly oppose these unilateral actions which will only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution.”

The statement went on to support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, a path to peace Netanyahu has dismissed.

Written with files from JTA. 

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