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Israeli demolition "provocative"

Britain has criticised Israel for resuming illegal settlement building in East Jerusalem – which it described as “provocative”.

Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt released a highly-critical statement after bulldozers moved into a Palestinian area to clear space for an Israeli enclave.

Peace talks have been suspended due to the renewed construction work in East Jerusalem, with the Palestinians refusing to return to the process until work ceases.

The empty Shepherd Hotel is being demolished to prepare for the building of 20 apartments in the flashpoint area of Sheikh Jerrah.

Burt said: “The British government reaffirms its strong, long-standing opposition to the creation of this new illegal settlement in occupied East Jerusalem and condemns today’s demolition in Sheikh Jerrah.

“The establishment and expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal.

“We oppose provocative unilateral actions such as this, which hinder efforts to resume talks between the two parties leading to a two-state solution to this conflict, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two states living side by side in peace and security.

“That is the way forward. This latest settlement activity does not help. On the contrary, it raises tensions unnecessarily.”

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