Israel Determined to Build the 300-Home Project
Israel is determined to press ahead with a 300-home project in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This week, the Department of State expressed opposition to the on-going settlement.
In his remarks in Washington DC, Deputy Department Spokesperson Mark C. Toner said the US is concerned about the Israeli government’s announcement of the advancement of nearly 300 new housing units in the West Bank settlement of Beit El, as well as hundreds of new housing units in East Jerusalem.
Mr. Toner emphasized that US government continues to view settlements as illegitimate.
“We strongly oppose steps to advance construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.” – Mr. Toner
The US spokesperson said settlement expansion threatens the two-state solution and calls into question Israel’s commitment to a negotiated resolution to the conflict.
To halt the settlement expansion, the US reiterated its call to urge the Israeli government to refrain from unhelpful actions that undercut the possibility of a two-state solution.
The Expansion Is Unstoppable
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying that the immediate construction of 300 housing units was approved in the Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
The approval included the building of 413 homes in the East Jerusalem area.
Israel captured East Jerusalem along with the West Bank and Gaza in the Six-Day War in 1967, but annexed the city as its united capital in a move not recognized by the international community. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as capital of their future State.
Many nations, including the United States, consider the settlements that Israel has built in “occupied land” as illegal.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since late September last year following Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity. That decision prompted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.