US 'deeply concerned' by Israeli settlement building

The US criticism of Israel’s plans follows a statement issued by Germany on Tuesday which also slammed Israel’s decision to proceed with settlement construction, calling it a violation of international law.

US 'deeply concerned' by Israeli settlement building

World Bulletin / News Desk

The US has expressed worry over Israel’s recent announcement of plans to construct 300 new settler residences in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Wednesday - a move that is likely to reignite tensions between native Palestinians and Jewish settlers.

Just hours after Israel’s announcement, US State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said Washington was “deeply concerned” by the plans, saying "The United States continues to view settlements as illegitimate and we strongly oppose steps to advance construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

"Settlement expansion threatens the two-state solution and calls into question Israel's commitment to a negotiated resolution to the conflict," Toner added.

In a statement issued by Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday, the “immediate construction of 300 housing units” in the Beit El area was ordered alongside the granting of planning approval for another 504 settler homes in occupied areas of East Jerusalem.

Earlier in July, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked also announced plans to “legalise” Jewish settlements in the West Bank through the formation of a new committee. Consequently, plans were then drawn up by the Israeli military to grant building permission for 1,065 settlement units in the West Bank.

According to a report released on July 23 by Israeli settlement watchdog group Peace Now, the plans include building permission for 541 new homes, the “legalisation” of 228 existing homes, and the approval of infrastructure for the construction of a further 296 homes.

"The construction of settlements in occupied territories violates international law. This also hinders efforts to revive the peace process and threatens the basis of a two-state solution," the German Foreign Ministry said.

"Precisely now both sides are urgently called to build trust and refrain from unilateral and provocative actions. We warn that such steps would hamper chances for the resumption of peace negotiations," the statement continued.

Approximately 400,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank in settlements that are largely condemned as being illegal by the international community, which sees settlement buildings as undermining international efforts to reach a two-state solution.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Temmuz 2016, 12:15