The US State Department again condemned Israel for building in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, this time using harsher language than usual, falsely blaming Israel for ‘systematically’ seizing Palestinian land.
The US on Tuesday harshly denounced plans announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to build new housing in Israel’s capital Jerusalem, saying the move is “undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.”
Israel’s government approved the construction of some 600 new housing units in Ma’ale Adumim, near Jerusalem, and another 200 units in Jerusalem neighborhoods located over the so-called Green Line: Gilo, Har Homa and Ramot.
The move was coupled with a decision to approve construction of some 600 new housing units exclusively for Arabs in Jerusalem’s Beit Safafa neighborhood.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said the decision is “the latest step in what seems to be a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalizations of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.”
“We oppose steps like these, which we believe are counterproductive to the cause of peace. In general, we’re deeply concerned about settlement construction and expansion in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the designation of land throughout the West Bank for exclusive Israeli use,” he added.
“These actions risk entrenching a one-state reality and raise serious questions about Israel’s long-term intentions,” he charged.
Kirby added that the Washington is having “tough discussions” with Israeli leaders as a form of action to stop the construction.
When asked about the building plans being authorized as a response to Palestinian terrorism, Kirby said that he is “loath to get into analyzing cause and effect here in terms of connecting that particular dot. We’re obviously deeply concerned about violence and we condemn the recent attacks. There’s – and we’ve said this before – no justification for terrorism, no justification for the violence, no justification for the taking or maiming of innocent life. And so we’re going to continue to look for leaders in the region to do what they need to do, take the affirmative steps that are required, and act – demonstrate leadership to take down the tensions to reduce the violence to get us to help create the conditions for a two-state solution. That doesn’t change, however, at all our opposition to settlement activity, which we believe is illegitimate.”
The Obama administration has repeatedly assailed Israeli plans to build in Judea and Samaria, home to over 400,000 Israelis, and in its capital Jerusalem.