'Inflammatory, dangerous': EU blasts new Israeli settlement plans in occupied West Bank

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell raised concern on Saturday over Israel's announced plans to construct 3,300 new housing units in illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank.

"The announcement by Israeli Minister (Bezalel) Smotrich to build 3,300 new units in illegal West Bank settlements is inflammatory and dangerous," he said on X.

"Settlements make Israelis and Palestinians less safe, fuel tensions, obstruct peace efforts, and constitute a grave breach of international law," he added.

Estimates indicate about 700,000 Israeli settlers live in roughly 300 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

All Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal under international law.

Tensions have been running high across the West Bank since Israel launched a deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip following an Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

At least 394 Palestinians have since been killed and 4,400 others injured by Israeli army fire in the occupied territory, according to the Health Ministry.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice over its deadly onslaught on the Gaza Strip, which has left more than 28,500 people dead.

In an interim ruling in January, the Hague-based court ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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