The European Union says it deplores the latest Israeli decision to build new illegal settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank and that it should be reversed.

The move announced on Sunday to build some 1,859 illegal homes threatens the Israel-Palestinian peace process, Catherine Ashton, EU foreign affairs head, said on Thursday.

"The EU has repeatedly stated that settlements are illegal under international law and that bold and decisive leadership is needed for the current peace negotiations to succeed," she said in a statement.

"The EU deplores the latest settlement announcement and calls on the Israeli government to reverse its decision."

Actions that "could hamper or undermine the ongoing negotiations must be avoided", Ashton added.

The building of new illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land is a key sticking point in the talks which were only revived with great difficulty by John Kerry, US secretary of state, earlier this year.

A bitter row has erupted over Israeli moves during the past week to push ahead with construction of a total of more than 3,700 new illegal settler homes.

Source: AFP