The US “firmly rejects” Israel’s plans to build 1,300 houses in the West Bank

The US State Department has said that the Israeli government’s plans to build more than 1,300 houses in settlements in the West Bank have been “decided”.

Ministry spokesman Ned Price said at a press conference that President Joe Biden’s administration was “deeply concerned” about this Israeli project.

The US “firmly rejects” Israel’s plans to build 1,300 houses in the West Bank
The US “firmly rejects” Israel’s plans to build 1,300 houses in the West Bank

“We firmly oppose settlement expansion, which is completely incompatible with efforts to ease tension and ensure calm, and which undermines the prospect of a two-state solution,” Price added.

As such, the State Department considers these plans “unacceptable” and has confirmed that it will continue to raise the issue “directly with senior Israeli officials in their” private discussions.

Last Sunday, Israel’s Building Minister Zeev Elkin announced the start of the process to advance approval for the construction of more than 1,300 houses in settlements in the West Bank.

The announcement comprised 729 units in Ariel, 346 units in Beit El, 102 in Elkanah, 96 units in Geva Binyamin, 57 units in Emanuel, 22 units in Karnei Shomron and one unit in Beitar Illit, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“As we promised, we deliver,” said Elkin, who stated that “strengthening and expanding the Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria is necessary and very important to the vision of the Zionist enterprise.”

The minister therefore used the name the Israeli government uses to describe what the United Nations and the EU refer to as Occupied Territories in the West Bank.

US officials have usually failed to criticize such decisions by Israel, but they have shown their opposition to “unilateral measures” on both sides against the joint solution between Israelis and Palestinians.

This news was not well received by the Labor Party or the left-wing Meretz formation – both members of the coalition that supports Prime Minister Naftali Bennett – and expressed disgust at the new decision.

For his part, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayé said that this announcement “presents the world, and particularly the United States, with a great responsibility to face and respond to the fait accompli by Israel”. Shtayé also urged the international community “to make (Israel) pay the price for its aggression”.

The announcement comes after the Hebrew media reported last week about another breakthrough in the construction of 3,000 settlement houses and 1,300 Palestinian houses in Zone C of the West Bank.

This last plan was supposed to be approved two months ago, but has been stopped by the civil administration, reports the Times of Israel. , Joe Biden, has taken office.

Area C represents about 60 percent of the West Bank and is completely under Israeli security and administrative control. Israel seldom approves Palestinian construction projects in Zone C and the vast majority of applications are denied.

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