LONDON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The British government said Wednesday it was "deeply" disappointed with an Israeli decision to advance settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
British Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt expressed frustration with Israel's decision to advance tenders for more than 1,200 settlements. In a statement, he said the British government considers settlement activity illegal and undermines efforts to find a two-state solution to the Middle East crisis.
"It is deeply disappointing that the government of Israel continues to ignore the appeals of the U.K. and other friends of Israel," he said in a statement.
Burt met last month with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat to discuss prospects for a two-state solution to the Middle East peace process.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas launched a unilateral statehood initiative last year. A vote for Palestine's non-member status is scheduled for later this month. Israel and the United States have expressed reservations over the initiative.
Burt had said his government is committed to Palestinian state-building efforts with the designation of up to $195 million through 2015 "to assist them in creating a sovereign and prosperous Palestinian state living in peace alongside a safe and secure Israel."