US slams ‘provocative and counterproductive’ settlement building
search

US slams ‘provocative and counterproductive’ settlement building

State Department calls latest approval of new homes in Gilo and elsewhere as ‘systematically undermining prospects for two-state solution’

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

Homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo on December 17, 2015. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)
Homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo on December 17, 2015. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

PHILADELPHIA — The US State Department said it was “deeply concerned” about new reports of construction approvals for Israeli homes over the Green Line Wednesday and said building in such sensitive areas runs counter to Israel’s stated goal of achieving a two-state solution.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli government announced its approval of 323 tenders for units in East Jerusalem, and on Monday announced plans to build 770 units in Gilo. While much of the international community considers Gilo a settlement, Israel considers it a neighborhood of annexed East Jerusalem.

State’s communications director John Kirby released a statement castigating these announcements, saying they called into question Israel’s commitment to a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

“We strongly oppose settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace,” it said. “These steps by Israeli authorities are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.”

Kirby also expressed concern over what he called Israel’s ongoing practice of demolishing Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The statement noted that the demolitions “reportedly have left dozens of Palestinians homeless, including children.”

State Department Spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the State Department on January 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. (AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN)
State Department Spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the State Department on January 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. (AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN)

“More than 650 Palestinian structures have been demolished this year, with more Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem thus far than in all of 2015,” it said.

The statement ended by quoting the recent Quartet Report, which cited settlement expansion as an obstacle to achieving a comprehensive accommodation between Israelis and Palestinians, while also blaming Palestinian incitement.

“As the recent Quartet Report highlighted, this is part of an ongoing process of land seizures, settlement expansion, legalizations of outposts, and denial of Palestinian development that risk entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict,” the statement said.

“We remain troubled that Israel continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action, which raises serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful, negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments