Israel outs US settlement construction criticism as bogus


Israel’s Foreign Ministry condemns the US’s claim that building homes for Jewish families undermines chances of peace as ‘factually baseless.’

By i24news


The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Friday rejected US State Department criticism of Israel’s construction over the Green Line as “factually baseless.”

The Israeli settlement of is seen behind the Jewish state’s controversial separation barrier in a picture taken from the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on August 24, 2009 – Photo: MUSA AL-SHAER/AFP/FILE

The United States slammed as “provocative” Israeli plans to build hundreds of new settlement homes in east Jerusalem, saying they seriously undermined the prospect of peace with the Palestinians.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emanuel Nachshon said on Friday that the international outcry “was done with the full knowledge that the neighborhood of Gilo in Jerusalem will be part of Israel in any conceivable agreement reached through negotiations,” Haaretz reported.

“The argument that building in Gilo undermines the two-state solution is factually baseless and distracts from the real obstacle to peace — the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, under any borders,” he continued.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Wednesday that the US was “deeply concerned by reports today that the government of Israel has published tenders for 323 units in east Jerusalem settlements,”

“This follows Monday’s announcement of plans for 770 units in the settlement of Gilo.”

“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 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.”

Palestinian leaders and the United Nations joined in condemning plans advanced this week for 770 new homes that would expand the Gilo settlement on the southern perimeter of east Jerusalem.

They are part of a larger Israeli plan for around 1,200 units approved some three years ago, according to Ir Amim, an NGO that monitors Israeli settlement activity.

On Wednesday, tenders for 323 settlement homes in four areas of east Jerusalem were published, Ir Amim and Israeli NGO Peace Now said.

The tenders in at least three of the areas had been previously published but the homes were not built for unclear reasons. They are now being relaunched, Peace Now said.


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