Paris: France on Thursday strongly condemned an Israeli plan to build 2,610 new settler homes in east Jerusalem, calling the project a direct threat to the two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
"If this decision is upheld, it would mark the creation of a new settlement in east Jerusalem for the first time in more than 15 years," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement.
"This announcement directly threatens the two-state solution" at a time when all efforts should be focused on peace, he said, calling on the Israeli authorities to reverse their decision.
"One cannot claim to be advocating for a solution while at the same time acting against it, without conclusions being drawn from that, particularly within the European Union," he added.
The project has also drawn sharp criticism from the United States, with President Barack Obama on Wednesday telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Washington`s deep concern over the proposed development.
The housing units, which have been slated for construction since 2012 in the neighbourhood of Givat Hamatos, were given final approval last week, according to the Peace Now watchdog.
Israel`s settlement building in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem, which is illegal under international law, has caused the breakdown of several rounds of peace talks.
The settlements are built on land the Palestinians want for their future state, whose capital would be in east Jerusalem.