On Wednesday evening, the foreign ministries of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain requested Israeli authorities to halt the construction of additional housing units in East Jerusalem.
Earlier this month, Israeli officials authorized plans for the building of over 3,500 dwellings in occupied East Jerusalem, roughly half of which would be erected in the contentious neighborhoods of Givat Hamatos and Har Homa.
The European nations warned in a statement that the hundreds of new structures would “present an extra hurdle to the two-state solution,” alluding to international peace attempts to establish a Palestinian state.
They said that development in this region will further sever ties between the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and that these settlements are illegal under international law.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment from Reuters.
In a 1967 conflict, Israel took East Jerusalem, including the Old City, and later annexed it, a move that was not recognized internationally.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state they intend to establish in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which borders the city, and the Gaza Strip. Israel considers the city as a whole to be its indivisible capital.
Most international countries consider Israeli settlements to be illegal because they occupy territory where Palestinians want independence.
The four nations also raised worry over evictions and demolitions in the East Jerusalem district of Sheikh Jarrah, where residents claim they are being forced to relocate.
Earlier Wednesday, Israeli police ejected a Palestinian family from their East Jerusalem house, which they claim they have lived in for decades, before a digger demolished it, provoking outrage from human rights advocates and diplomats.