The US Department of State
condemned the new push by Tel Aviv to expand its settlement program,
stating the move undermines peace efforts and makes prospects of ever
reaching a two-state solution even bleaker.
“We are deeply
concerned about the Israeli government’s plan to advance thousands of
settlement units tomorrow, Wednesday, many of them deep in the West
Bank,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told a press briefing on Tuesday.
strongly oppose the expansion of settlements, which is completely
inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm, and it
damages the prospects for a two-state solution.
rebuke of Israeli settlement activities comes as Tel Aviv put a new
plan to expand its illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian
territories into motion. On Sunday, the country’s authorities published a
tender for over 1,300 new houses for Israeli settlers.
authorities are also expected to approve the construction of a further
3,000 houses this week. The discussion of the project is set to take
place on Wednesday, according to a weekly schedule published by the
Civil Administration’s planning committee. If the plan is approved, it
would be the first time Israel greenlit new settlement units during the
Biden administration, as well as under the new post-Netanyahu Israeli
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The settlement program remains a major issue in Israeli foreign
policy, somewhat complicating its generally close ties with Washington.
Settling the Palestinian territories, which have been under Israeli
occupation since the 1967 Six-Day War, is recognized internationally as
an illegal practice. Despite repeated condemnation by the UN and other
international bodies, Tel Aviv has been consistently expanding the
settlements, regularly approving construction of new batches of homes
for Israeli settlers.