Saudi Arabia has condemned new Israeli plans to build hundreds of settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem.
On Friday, Israel issued tenders for the construction of 1,029 units in the settlements of Efrat and Beita Illit in East Jerusalem, according to Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlements watchdog.
The group said the settlement building comes despite Israel’s commitment during last week’s summit in Egypt’s city of Sharm El-Sheikh to suspend the construction of new settlements in the occupied East Bank.
During the Sharm El-Sheikh summit, Israel pledged to halt discussion of any new settlement units for four months, and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months.
In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said the Israeli decision "represents a continuation of the flagrant violations committed by the [Israeli] occupation authorities."
The ministry called on the international community "to assume its responsibilities to end the Israeli occupation and to stop its provocative practices, which would obstruct the paths of political solutions based on the Arab Peace Initiative, and undermine international peace efforts.”
Proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002, the Arab Peace Initiative calls for normalizing relations with Israel in return for withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967.
Estimates indicate about 650,000 settlers are living in 164 settlements and 116 outposts in the occupied West Bank.
Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal.
* Writing by Ahmed Asmar