US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a tense phone call yesterday on Israel’s advancement of plans to build a few thousand new settlement homes, according to Walla news site.
The report, which cited three unnamed Israeli officials familiar with the call, says Blinken phoned Gantz and told him the construction plans are “unacceptable,” citing both the number of housing units set to be approved and their locations in the West Bank.
The top US diplomat, who is the most senior Biden administration official to protest the Israeli plans, reportedly asked Gantz to consider the American opinion on settlements in the future.
Gantz responded that he tried to reduce the number of units as much as possible and said he understood the US sensitivities on the matter and would take them into account, according to the report.
The defense chief is said to have also highlighted plans to approve 1,300 new Palestinian homes and griped that he has taken flak for meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and approved family reunifications.
“The Americans gave us a yellow card,” a senior Israeli official is quoted as saying.