China opposes Israeli settlement expansion

China on Monday reiterated its opposition to Israel’s settlement expansion in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, urging Israel to create necessary conditions to resume the peace talks with Palestine at an early date.

“China has always firmly opposed Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory of East Jerusalem and the West Bank,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing.

Israel’s security cabinet led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to permit the construction of 3,000 more housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, apparently in retaliation for Palestine’s successful statehood bid at the UN, Israeli media reported on Friday.

“We urge the Israeli side to take substantial steps to eliminate obstacles to the peace talks with Palestine and create necessary conditions to rebuild mutual trust and relaunch the peace talks at an early date,” Hong said.

Israel’s move came less than 24 hours after Palestine won a vote at the UN General Assembly to upgrade its status at the world body from an observer entity to a non-member observer state.

The peace process between Israel and Palestine came to a halt in 2010 over growing criticism of Israel’s expansion of its West Bank settlements.

Xinhua