The US State Department on Sunday said Washington was deeply troubled by the government's order that allows Jewish settlers to establish a permanent presence in the Homesh outpost in the northern West Bank.
"We are deeply troubled by the Israeli government’s order that allows its citizens to establish a permanent presence in the Homesh outpost in the northern West Bank, which according to Israeli law was illegally built on private Palestinian land," wrote State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller in a statement.
"This order is inconsistent with both former Prime Minister Sharon’s written commitment to the Bush Administration in 2004 and the current Israeli government’s commitments to the Biden Administration. Advancing Israeli settlements in the West Bank is an obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution.
"We are also concerned by today’s provocative visit to the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif in Jerusalem and the accompanying inflammatory rhetoric.
"This holy space should not be used for political purposes, and we call on all parties to respect its sanctity. More broadly, we reaffirm the longstanding US position in support of the historic status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites and underline Jordan’s special role as custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem."
The order is inconsistent with Israeli government commitments made in 2004 and more recently to Biden administration officials, Miller said.
Israel's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier on Sunday, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, part of a far-right government that came to power in December, visited the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, sacred to both Muslims and Jews, who know it as Temple Mount, and declared Israel was "in charge."
Miller said Washington was also concerned about the "provocative visit" and "accompanying inflammatory rhetoric."
"This holy space should not be used for political purposes, and we call on all parties to respect its sanctity," he said, also reaffirming the US position that the status quo should be maintained at Jerusalem's holy sites.
Gallant's recent attempt to repeal the Disengagement Law
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has sought to make the repeal of the 2005 Disengagement Law as it applies to the West Bank’s northern Samaria official and authorize the Homesh yeshiva.
The Knesset in March had approved the law which lifts the ban on the entry of Israelis onto the sites of the four northern Samaria settlements destroyed after the Gaza pullout in 2005; Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim.
On May 17, Gallant ordered the head of the IDF’s Central Command Yehuda Fox to sign an order making it official that Israelis can enter those sites.
An Israeli official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the order in question was intended to allow Israelis to keep attending an existing religious school in Homesh, and that the government has no intention of rebuilding the settlement or allowing Israeli presence on private Palestinian land.
The Biden administration had vigorously opposed the repeal, explaining that it violated past understandings between the US and Israel, including former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s pledge to execute the Disengagement Plan.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.