Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
PHILADELPHIA -- The United States expressed anger on Wednesday over a recent announcement of settlement tenders in East Jerusalem, following another announcement earlier in the week on building in Gilo.
"We strongly oppose settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace," the State Department said. "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."
Reports indicate 323 units are planned for East Jerusalem and 770 for Gilo.
"In just the past few weeks, we have seen reports of the advancement of plans for 531 units in Ma’ale Adumim, 19 in Har Homa, 120 in Ramot, and 30 in Pisgat Ze’ev; the advancement of a plan to retroactively legalize an outpost near Ramallah; and the issuance of tenders for 42 units in Kiryat Arba," the statement reads, reiterating "strong opposition" from the US and the international community to the moves.
"We are also concerned about recent increased demolitions of Palestinian structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which reportedly have left dozens of Palestinians homeless, including children," the statement from State Department spokesman John Kirby continues.
"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."
Kirby pointed to a recent report out of the Middle East Quartet, which says that Israel's continued settlement activity would soon create a one-state reality he characterized as "perpetual occupation and conflict."
"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," he added.
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