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Foreign Ministries from 12 European countries on Thursday issued a joint statement condemning Israel’s plans to build new housing units in Judea and Samaria.

The statement was issued by the Spokespersons of the Foreign Ministries of Denmark, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden. In it, the Foreign Ministries assert that Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria undermines peace efforts.

“We urge the Government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance plans for the construction of around 3,000 settlement units in the West Bank. We reiterate our strong opposition to its policy of settlement expansion across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which violates international law and undermines efforts for the two-state solution,” the statement said.

“We call on both parties to build on steps taken in recent months to improve cooperation and reduce tensions. We reiterate our call to implement United Nations Resolution 2334 with all its provisions, with the aim of rebuilding trust and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace,” it added.

The statement comes several days after the Higher Planning Committee of the Civil Administration gave approval for 3,130 new housing units in Israeli towns across Judea and Samaria.

The move came after the government issued tenders for some 1,000 housing units in Judea and Samaria

On Sunday, the Israel Land Authority issued a tender to market a total of 1,000 housing units, including 346 in Beit El, 252 in Beitar Illit, and 42 in Elkana.

On Tuesday, US State Department Spokesman Ned Price sharply criticized Israel's intention to approve the housing units in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

"When it comes to what we've heard recently, we are deeply concerned about the Israeli government's plan to advance thousands of settlement units tomorrow, Wednesday, many of them deep in the West Bank," Price told reporters.

"In addition, we're concerned about the publication of tenders on Sunday for 1,300 settlement units in a number of West Bank settlements," he added.

"We strongly oppose the expansion of settlements, which is completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm, and it damages the prospects for a two-state solution. We have been consistent and clear in our statements to this effect. We also view plans for the retroactive legalization of illegal outposts as unacceptable. We continue to raise our views on this issue directly with senior Israeli officials in our private discussions," Price said.

Russia also condemned on Thursday Israel’s plans to build thousands of new housing units in Judea and Samaria, calling the construction ‘illegal’.

The Russian foreign ministry tweeted that it views Israel’s “settlement activity” as being illegal, and expressed disappointment with the Israeli government’s decision to approve new housing units in Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria.

“On October 24, Israel announced plans to expand its settlements on the West Bank. Moscow is disappointed with this decision by the Israeli government. We reaffirm Russia’s principled position that Israel’s settlement activity is illegal.”

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