The foreign ministries of Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Britain have condemned as "counterproductive" Israel's construction of thousands of new settlement units in occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank.
The move "violates international law and further imperils the viability of a two-state solution to bring about a just and lasting peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," the ministries said in a joint statement on Friday.
According to human rights organisation Peace Now, the Higher Planning Council of the Israeli Civil Administration approved 4948 settlement units, at various stages of planning, on Wednesday and Thursday.
The five countries' ministries called "for an immediate halt to settlement construction as well as to evictions and to demolitions of Palestinian structures in East-Jerusalem and the West Bank."
The construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is one of the most contentious issues in the decades-long and bloody dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Some 600,000 Israelis live in more than 200 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Palestinians hope to make the capital of their future state.