WASHINGTON – The US is deeply concerned by reports that Israel has published
tenders for 323 units in East Jerusalem settlements and strongly opposes the move,
the US State Department said Wednesday.
“We strongly oppose settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of
peace,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement, China’s
Xinhua news agency reported.
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.
Israel occupied the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip
territories, where five million Palestinians lived, during the 1967 Mideast War.
The last round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority
ended in April 2014 with no results.
Since then, the peace process has been stalled due to deep differences over
borders and continued Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank.
By now, there have been no serious actions to resume the peace talks between
Israel and the Palestinians.
The US also expressed concerns about recent increased demolitions of
Palestinian structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which reportedly
have left dozens of Palestinians homeless, including children.
More than 650 Palestinian structures have been demolished this year, with
more Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem thus
far than in all of 2015, according to the US State Department.
Kirby said the move is part of an ongoing process of land seizures,
settlement expansion, legalisations of outposts, and denial of Palestinian
development that risk entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation
and conflict, citing a recent report by the Middle East Quartet, which comprises
the United Nations, the European Union, the US and Russia.
“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,” the