Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, attend the Christmas Midnight Mass in Saint Catherine's Church at the Church of the Nativity, on December 25, 2013 in Bethlehem
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, attend the Christmas Midnight Mass in Saint Catherine's Church at the Church of the Nativity, on December 25, 2013 in Bethlehem © Musa A-Shaer - POOL/AFP/File
Palestinian President  Mahmoud Abbas and Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, attend the Christmas Midnight Mass in Saint Catherine's Church at the Church of the Nativity, on December 25, 2013 in Bethlehem
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AFP
Last updated: January 11, 2014

EU's Ashton deeply concerned over Israel settlements

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The European Union's foreign policy supremo said Saturday she was "deeply concerned" by what she said were "illegal" Israeli plans for more than 1,800 new settler homes.

"I was deeply concerned to hear the latest announcement by the Israeli authorities to advance settlement plans once more," Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

She added the settlements were "illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make the two-state solution impossible".

She reiterated her call on Israel to cease its settlement building and said current efforts at peace talks were a "unique opportunity" for both sides.

On Friday, Tel Aviv unveiled proposals for 1,076 units in annexed east Jerusalem and 801 in the occupied West Bank in a move the Palestinians said was aimed at forcing the United States to abandon its push towards Middle East peace.

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