\"Tanaiste

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore Photo by: Google Images

Irish deputy PM calls on Israel to halt expansion of West Bank settlements

\"Tanaiste

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore Photo by: Google Images

Irish Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore called on the Israeli government to withdraw its plans to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank yesterday.

According to RTE, Gilmore said the scale of the new plans suggests that Israel plans to expand and build new settlements.

'Last week's decision by the UN General Assembly to grant Observer State status to Palestine should have provided much needed impetus for the resumption of substantive peace negotiations,' Gilmore said.

'It should not be used as grounds for creating further serious obstacles in the path of peace.'

Gilmore called on both sides to stop any activity that 'makes the resumption of peace talks more difficult.'

Gilmore's comments come after Britain, France and Sweden summoned their respective Israeli ambassadors to express concern over the Israeli decision.

Israel counters it has a historical claim to land in the West Bank and to all of Jerusalem. It captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the 1967 war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already dismissed international condemnation of his latest settlement plans. France sent a letter to the Israeli government, calling the settlement decision 'a considerable obstacle to the two-state solution.' Germany said the decision would hurt Israel's ability to negotiate a long-term peace agreement.

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